Guest Author - Maria S. Cuasay
You may be familiar with the phrase "high tech career" but what about "hy-tech"? It refers to a job that is not in the Information Technology industry but requires computers as critical tools. Without a computer, these workers would not be able to fulfill their roles. Medical records technicians and digital animators are good examples.
Health Technology Gaining in Importance
While most of the attention is focused on the popular tech careers like web designer or developer, database administrator or computer engineer, the number of medical high tech careers is on a slow but steady increase. This rise is worldwide.
• The Information Age has made technical knowledge a definite plus in the workplace.
• Demographic shifts are subtle but effective long-term factors. The retiring of baby boomers in the United States and the declining birthrates of native Europeans affect employment numbers in healthcare which makes reliance on technology both cost effective and inevitable.
• Online learning is a rapidly growing business model. Khan Academy is a good example. All of its instructors and pupils require Internet access and a computer.
Besides new hybrid careers, technology has also sent change rippling through other industries. No other industry has experienced the amount of direct transformation as the medical field in recent years.
• Medical transcription has evolved to include voice recognition technology. It has caused traditional transcriptionists to adapt or change careers entirely. With additional technical knowledge, a transcriptionist can become an auditor of voice files for example. No automated system is a better gauge of context and accuracy than a trained person.
• Medical coders in the United States who previously relied on thick volumes of diagnosis-related codes have been tasked with learning a completely new coding system. Coders must attain proficiency in proprietary software to do their work remotely or on site. Certification in this field is becoming an expectation not an added value.
• Medical records technology is a different beast from its information technology counterpart due to privacy law compliance. Medical records technicians must exhibit higher levels of professional discretion and personal sensitivity as well as be proficient in specific software applications.
The jobs mentioned above are far from the well known almost glamorous image of designers and developers. These roles are rarely publicized despite their work being essential to their industry. While demand is in a slow climb the overall outlook is optimistic. The US Census department sees a 20% increase in demand over the next ten years. Pay for a healthcare-related technology positions as described are lower by comparison to traditional technical positions. Keep in mind that pay and supply are closely tied. Certain job markets will pay more than others.
Since the medical industry is in a state of flux for the moment, requirements of experience, certification or education vary widely. The basic educational requirement is a high school diploma with professional certification a necessity especially for medical coding positions. There are online courses to help with upgrading skills with the goal of becoming certified coder. An associates degree is best for entry-level medical records technicians and administrators.
As the industry gains more knowledge, it is likely that the hybrid medical roles will become more categorized and sophisticated. The level of training and experience will follow. If you are enthusiastic about technology and passionate about helping others, these careers may be worth a look.