Published in Health Callings by BY LEKAN OGUNTOYINBO | NOV 30, 2012

The New Year will bring significant growth in several healthcare technology arenas, including mobile health, clinical analytics and personal health records, “InformationWeek Healthcare” predicts. In addition, the magazine says look for a boom in telemedicine.

What’s driving growth

The magazine attributes the boom in mobile health to the increasing sophistication of consumers. It cites a PricewaterhouseCoopers study that says approximately half of consumers believe mobile health will improve the cost, quality and convenience of their healthcare. Consumers with chronic illnesses are expected to drive the demand for digital tools that link personal health records to electronic health records.

The study also notes that several healthcare companies have relationships with telemedicine companies and cites one case in which a partnership is expected to lead to a nationwide expansion of electronic health records to targeted consumers next year. The magazine also predicts steady growth in the adoption of health data analytics.

“I see a lot of consumers taking charge of their healthcare and the need to own responsibility of their healthcare,” says Timothy Tolan, senior partner of Sanford Rose Associates, a Charleston, S.C.-based executive recruiting firm, whose practice specializes in healthcare IT. “There are a lot of smart phone apps to help consumers not only find a doctor but to rate and grade a doctor. People are using mobile apps and mobile devices to go out and take charge of their own healthcare.”

Indeed, the article notes that consumers with chronic diseases are taking advantage of apps and iPhone attachments that let them do things like measure blood pressure and blood glucose.

Types of jobs

Industry observers expect these trends to fuel job growth in healthcare IT.

Jose Marie-Griffith, a healthcare IT expert and vice president of academic affairs at Bryant University, anticipates a growth in healthcare jobs, particularly in the allied health fields.

“We think telemedicine will require (more) people who can monitor large numbers of patients,” she says. As more medical care is moved out into the community, she says, there will be an increasing need for allied health professionals to address some of the basic needs of patients that were once handled by physicians.

“In the clinical arena, as the population is increasing and aging, we are seeing the [growing need] for physician assistants and nurse practitioners,” she says. “We see a major opportunity where there will be significant growth and demand for qualified professionals in the allied health professions.”

Tolan says he expects the market to stay robust for the next couple of decades. He says that will be good for both job seekers and investors.

“There are lots of hospitals converting from older to newer technologies,” he says. “Clinical analytics is becoming significantly hot. It’s a big market with lots of new up and coming companies. There are lots of companies trying to break into clinical analytics. Now you’ve got big companies putting money into healthcare ventures. There’s lots of private equity money coming into the market. I don’t think it’s going to slow down.”

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