Health Information Manager: Helping People Through Technology

Even during the economic downturn, there’s one industry in which technology has massive growth potential. What is that industry, you might ask?

Consider this: The recently passed U.S. economic stimulus package has set aside $17 billion to provide incentives for health care providers to adopt technology. And one study found the U.S. will need at least 40,000 more health care IT professionals to make the investments worth it.

“We’re looking at a change in the next four years, [as] 95 percent of the hospitals in the United States will become 80 percent digitized,” said Lior Blik, chief information officer for Hoboken University Medical Center in New Jersey. “[Currently], they’re 30 percent digitized, maybe 40 percent if they’re lucky. People will store everything on their IT. The medical records staff will probably have to become IT staff.”

During a time when IT professionals are vying for jobs, a career in health care IT might be just the ticket.

“I don’t see [demand] getting any smaller,” Blik said.

So what are the skills required to work one’s way up through hospital IT? The No. 1 asset is basic IT knowledge, Blik said.

“I’m a true believer that you need to come from the technical part of the business,” he said. “It’s more important to know IT first. It’s like assuming the lawyer who does health care doesn’t need to know law. You have to know IT to manage IT.”

In fact, when he’s hiring health information managers (HIM) — those who “are…



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