Have your career plans been derailed or confused by political changes with various health care laws?  How do all of these political developments impact healthcare information technology jobs? What is the best Hospital Information Technology (HIT) career advice for the current environment?

Related: About Healthcare Information Technology

A Look at HIT Career Trends

If you want a good, long, fulfilling career, then the first advice might be to plan for the long-term. Many politicians have a short-term focus. You really can’t influence many of their decisions by yourself.

The next bit of advice is to be realistic. Count your strengths or weaknesses and plan accordingly. You can’t change the past or what the politicians decide. In that light….just what is the present trend for hospital IT jobs?

Efficiency is the 2018 healthcare trend

The United States is being forced to run more efficiently. Therefore, as a healthcare executive, you will be called upon to pull your weight. You also might be asked to recommend more efficient HIT. How can you use Information Technology to run a tighter healthcare ship?

Let us focus on three key trends for HIT jobs: 1. Cost Savings, 2. Elder Care and 3. Preventative Medicine. The executive who has proficiency in these areas will have the best opportunity for gainful employment and career advancement. How can you integrate healthcare information technology into the everyday lives of the public at large?

1. Cost Savings

The American healthcare system is one of the best in the world. The primary problem has been cost. California had to close some of its clinics due to financial problems.

How can hospital IT jobs improve efficiency, which would result in significant cost savings? The first answer could be during the check-in process.

Why is it that YouTube can save your musical selections and suggest new videos that you might be interested in, while the local hospital has to ask you the same questions over and over again? What is your name? Do you have allergic reactions to any drugs?

The Rand corporation believes that HIT could lower costs and improve quality. Integrated data sources, such as Electronic Medical Records, Decision Support Systems and Computerized Physician Medication Order Entry are key areas of focus. Rand estimates that savings due to these HIT factors could result in an average of $77 billion per year. What is a good example of how HIT can improve quality?

Computerized Physician Medication Order Entry could reduce the 200,000 adverse drug reactions and save $1 billion each year. Released patients forced to return to the hospital after a drug reaction can stay at home. The hospital can use its limited staff to improve service to others.

2. Elder Care

Rand noted that the majority of adverse drug reactions occurred in patients aged 65 and older. The United States had reached its baby boomer retirement window in 2011 and this will continue until 2029. There are 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every single day.

What does this mean? It means that the American population will tend to be grayer and its healthcare system should reflect this fact. Already, we see more senior assisted living care facilities. How can elder technology improve healthcare facilities?

Remote Monitoring Devices

One of the primary strengths of hospitals is their Remote Monitoring Devices. How could hospital IT jobs use these to improve elder care? How about integration with home monitoring systems?

Related: How Amazon’s Alexa May Impact Healthcare

The best way to advance through healthcare information technology jobs could be by becoming an expert on the integration of hospital and home monitoring systems. Sure, the hospital has nurses and IVs to provide round-the-clock monitoring, but what happens when the patient gets home? Is that the weak link in American healthcare?

Future healthcare information technology jobs might require executives to understand the latest devices for home monitoring. MHealthIntelligence.com writer Thomas Beaton discussed patient generated health data (PGHD) systems that allow the patient to take his glucose, weight, blood pressure and temperature. What are the benefits of PGHD?

PGHD could be used instead of requiring a senior citizen to find a care giver to give him a ride to the hospital. It saves valuable time and allows for the hospital to be used for other purposes. This could be invaluable for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

Imagine a patient or care giver sending vitals to an approaching ambulance before it arrived? The EMTs would have an advanced understanding of the situation. The EMT could prepare equipment for the most likely problems of the ailing patient.

Of course, EMTs already have this data and share it with the hospital as they approach. But, what if they could start a step earlier – at the patient’s home. Is this possible?

Patient Generated Health Data

PGHD could lower costs. Clinical visits would not be required. But, can HIT executives trust the data? Of course, that is the negative aspect of self-monitoring.

Before patients left the hospital, they could be instructed by nurses in how to operate certain home monitoring systems. The primary medical device manufacturers each have their own home monitoring system:

  • Biotronik Home Monitoring
  • Boston Scientific Latitude NXT
  • GE Healthcare Apex Pro CH
  • Honeywell Genesis Touch
  • Medtronic Vital Sync
  • Nihon Koden Aware
  • Philips Healthcare EncorePro 2
  • Spacelabs Healthcare Xhibit
  • St. Jude Medical Merlin

HIT jobs might require an understanding of the differences in each medical device. The data is sent to the patient’s healthcare provider.

The Latitude NXT is hands-free, so the patient does not need to intervene to send the data. The Philips Healtchare EncorePro 2 focuses on the patient’s sleep and respiratory patterns. The St. Jude Medical Merlin can provide valuable information for follow-up care.

3. Preventative Medicine

And, this home monitoring technology dovetails nicely with preventative care. When seniors are monitored at home, they can prevent many serious problems. Doctors can monitor their patients remotely and make sure they are following their medicine taking instructions.

But, why shouldn’t this technology be made available for pregnant mothers? Wouldn’t they also benefit from preventative care? They have baby monitoring technology for cribs, so why not have the same for mothers expecting a new baby?

The journey to the hospital can take a long time when a women is experiencing labor pains. If the EMTs had her vitals beforehand, they could prepare her IV very quickly. Mother’s and baby’s health would be vastly improved with home monitoring systems.

Overlapping HIT Developments

The interesting thing about all of these Healthcare Information Technology trends is that they are overlapping. Healthcare can only do so much, but it can look towards technology to fill in many gaps. The political arena has changed, but couldn’t HIT create a superior American healthcare system?

Just think of the symbiosis and synchronization that is possible with monitoring technology. Imagine if you taught American children how to use these medical monitoring devices with their smartphones when they were young. Wouldn’t they be experts at healthcare monitoring devices just as they are experts at texting and playing games with their smartphones now?

Healthcare information technology jobs might continue to create a comprehensive system of preventative, hospital and follow-up care. Before, during and after healthcare is the ideal world and technology could make all the difference. Now, might be the time to fill in the gaps.

Executives create the strategy for their healthcare organizations. For many hospitals, they have a variety of different technology systems being used at the present time. This makes it difficult for them to achieve coordination. Should hospitals try to integrate and consolidate their technology? Future HIT jobs might have this important task as their stated goal.

By being an expert on all of the HIT brands, you can offer your wise opinion on which is best. You can test each out and make your own assessment. Remember the ongoing 2018 HIT trends of cost savings, elder care and preventative medicine and you can advance your career.