The tech industry is one of the fastest-growing segments of employment in the world. Healthcare tech is in particularly high demand. The industry as a whole has taken several massive steps into the future, embracing advanced analytics and digital records to enhance its ability to provide high-quality care.
The result? A massive influx of tech-related jobs in the healthcare industry. In this article, we take a look at some of the many great careers within the healthcare industry.
An Inaccessible Career Path?
It’s hard not to talk about the tech industry without acknowledging that it hasn’t always been known for its equability. For most of the last few decades, white men have held the vast majority of tech-related jobs.
This, coupled with industry-wide reporting on toxic work conditions has made members of underrepresented segments of the population feel unwelcome within the industry.
While things are far from perfect, the last several years have yielded more opportunities for people of all backgrounds. Outreach efforts, coupled with scholarships and other resources have opened many doors. If you are interested in a tech career, do a little bit of digging to find out what resources are available to smooth your journey.
In the spring of last year, Ireland experienced an unprecedented cybersecurity event. A group of Russian terrorists, operating under the name Wizard Spider (no, they weren’t fifth graders) managed to infiltrate the national health network through ransomware.
They offered to forfeit control of the systems in exchange for tens of millions of dollars. Ireland refused to give in to their demands, and what ensued were six weeks of confusion and frustration as Ireland attempted to untangle their network by hand.
They did manage to do it eventually, but not before hundreds of people had their private records leaked.
Of course, this is a very dramatic example. It’s even fair to say that most of the time, cyberterrorists aren’t busting into national health systems. Still, it’s true that the healthcare industry is a major target for bad actors who recognize the value of personal information.
And, of course, Wizard Spider probably wasn’t particularly interested in reading about how Leanord had his appendix out three years ago either. They were terrorists. The breach wasn’t about the money —they knew going in that Ireland wouldn’t give it to them.
It was about spreading fear. Hundreds of people had their private information publicized, but millions now live in fear that the same thing could happen to them.
The result? Cyber security in the healthcare industry is now more important than it has ever been. Big hospital systems will have full-time employees working around the clock to ensure that the system is doing everything it needs to. Smaller hospital networks may rely on the help of freelancers.
Either way, there is plenty of work to be had for cybersecurity experts who want to help keep people’s private information a little bit safer.
The healthcare industry is relying more and more on data. From predictive analytics to personalized treatment plans, the use of data science in healthcare is transforming the healthcare landscape by improving patient outcomes and overall operational efficiency. Of course, healthcare has always been a number game. Every time you’ve gone into your doctor and had them tell you that you should get your flu shot sooner rather than later because it’s going to be a bad year, that was data at work.
The doctor looked at patterns that played out in the recent past and used those patterns to make a reasonable prediction about what would happen in the future.
Data was an enormous help during the height of the pandemic, allowing experts to predict surges while simultaneously making it easier for healthcare professionals to plan out how to best use their resources.
Of course, there doesn’t have to be a raging pandemic for data to be useful. Hospitals now use it to assess the needs of their community and make highly personalized healthcare recommendations for the people they treat.
All that information is useless unless it can be expertly channeled. Data scientists and analysts make databases and set up networks that can be used to store, process, and access data to make valuable predictions for how health-related events will play out in the future.
Developing applications for hospitals is tricky. This is particularly true if you are developing a program that will deal with information that falls under the scope of “HIPAA”— an act of congress from the 1990s that legally protects patient privacy.
Before the digital age, protecting sensitive health information was relatively straightforward. Cloud-based technology has complicated things considerably. How do you keep information safe when it is floating around in a so-called “cloud”?
As far as HIPAA is concerned, there are ways to do it. A lot of them. And if you don’t follow these carefully outlined guidelines (encryption, automated signouts, multi-step verification, etc) then you as the developer will be just as liable under HIPAA as the hospital using your product.
Because the stakes are high, and the work is very particular, people who make healthcare-related technology are usually highly specialized. It can be difficult work, but it’s also a worthwhile way to contribute to a vital industry.
Health Services Administrators
While the work of a health services administrator is not exclusively tech-based, it will benefit tremendously from at least a competent understanding of many of the other things we have discussed on this list so far.
Administrators are basically the ones who keep hospitals running. This work can involve everything from ordering supplies, managing schedules, handling insurance-related responsibilities, and more. Bottom line? If you want to be a part of the future of hospital administration, it’s a good idea to brush up on the ins and outs of digital technology.
Ok, you swayed me. How do I get started?
The beautiful thing about the tech industry is that there are many roads to career success. Computer science, Data science, software development, computer networking, etc. With all these opportunities, the next move is up to you.
What interests you? A lot of tech-related skills intersect, so don’t be afraid to start in one direction only to pivot into another.
There are many paths to getting a tech-related healthcare job, so choose the one that speaks to you the most. Not only will you find a lucrative career at the other end of your degree, but you will also get the chance to make a meaningful contribution to the healthcare industry.