It's a fact of life: many of the booms in information technology hiring and opportunities have come from responses to government-induced mandates. The EDSes of the world have know this for years, working with government agencies to keep their systems as up-to-date as possible. The technology industry, battered and broken following the post-dot-com meltdown of the early 2000s, received a dose of new life as new government mandates such as the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act gave rise to new information-reporting requirements.
Now, as the government's new healthcare mandates (The Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare”) kick into full gear over the next two years, it looks like the health insurance industry will be the latest hot spot for IT employment.
As reported in The Annals of Family Medicine (and summarized in Health Data Management), a new study predicts a significant expansion of the health insurance industry as it incorporates an additional 34 million U.S. residents. The study projects a need for 8,000 more primary care physicians over the next 12 years, along with workers in support fields such as IT.
As described in Health Data Management, as much as a third of the more than 750,000 projected IT openings during this decade will be within the healthcare industry.
Driving the growth in health-related IT jobs will be the mandate that all medical records be digitized, as well as the state-level health insurance exchanges that are being put in place. These exchanges will require support, call centers and connectivity with health insurance providers.
The exchanges are just starting to get off the ground, and, already, the healthcare industry—including insurers—are finding it to be a seller's market for critical skills, from application design to data analysis
What kinds of jobs are opening up? A perusal of job boards finds the following sampling of opportunities:
Lead systems analyst: “This position provides support to the Health Information Exchange systems. This is a high level position with significant operational responsibilities and will require a detail-oriented individual able to follow complex technical instructions.”
VP, Health Insurance Exchange: “You will become a subject matter expert in the emerging health insurance exchange (HIX) space, creating a new business unit and leading our first foray into the health insurance space. Our primary target market for the Exchange will be low-income individuals, which, as you know, is an important market group to retain as they move on and off of state coverage.
Business analyst, Health Insurance Exchanges: “Help us change healthcare by helping to on-board 30 million uninsured Americans into a more transparent and competitive healthcare system.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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