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Planning for the future: Careers in healthcare technology

Careers in healthcare technology are taking off, with the global eHealth market estimated to grow at the rate of 15.8% through 2022, writes CHARLIE FLETCHER

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Careers in Healthcare, HealthIT and HealthTech
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The world’s population is rapidly aging, and technology is rapidly evolving. That’s the perfect recipe for careers in healthcare technology, which are fast changing the healthcare job landscape.

No longer are healthcare jobs focused solely on the patient experience or administrative side of things. Careers in healthcare technology are taking off, with the global eHealth market estimated to grow at the rate of 15.8% through 2022.

Here, we’ll explore the basics of new healthcare technologies and how they could aid the shift toward more egalitarian medical care.

Along the way, we’ll explore potential careers in healthcare IT. If you’re a tech-savvy individual trying to find your calling in an interdisciplinary world, a job in healthcare technology might just be the perfect fit.

What is Health IT?

Telehealth services, remote monitoring tools, and electronic health portals were quickly deployed amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, and now healthtech is here to stay.

Healthtech, also known as health information technology, consists of the various “software used to store, share, secure, and analyze patient health information.”

Health IT professionals, meanwhile, are in charge of coding and analyzing this data, among other things.

Recently, mobile healthcare applications have been established, allowing patients to manage their healthcare information.

The blockchain has provided a secure, reliable means of storing sensitive patient information.

Virtual reality systems are even being used to train doctors and nurses, in addition to soothing patients in distress. Moving forward, it’s clear that technology will play an important role in shaping the future of healthcare.

In the years to come, telesurgery and treatment plans developed by artificial intelligence could even become the norm.

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As a result of innovations in healthtech, patients have enjoyed access to reduced medical costs, faster diagnosis, and improved doctor-patient communication. Not only does this make the patient experience more pleasant and convenient, but it can also save lives.

The Shift Toward More Quality Healthcare

Doctors work long hours. With an increasing number of patients to see, you’d think all of those hours would be spent interfacing with patients or participating in continuing education.

Unfortunately, today’s doctors are swamped with paperwork — there are electronic health records to complete, insurance claims to file, and administrative woes to deal with. Studies have even shown that first-year doctors spend only 13% of their work time interacting with patients, and they’re often multitasking during that time.

A shift toward healthcare technology could lessen the burden of medical administration on healthcare workers worldwide.

Technology can also enable better healthcare by allowing for more accurate inventory management and increased access to wearable healthcare monitors. In turn, that could lead to a rise in preventative medical care.

Of course, the transition to digital systems is never easy for an organization. Hospitals and medical clinics can be especially slow to innovate; switching over almost seems to invite system mishaps, and for facilities that need to be fully functioning 24/7, that’s a big risk to take on.

In Africa particularly, telehealth must be deployed effectively and thoughtfully to achieve health equity.

Doctors must have access to quality data and practical workflows to have the biggest impact on public health problems like HIV.

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The Medical Careers of the Future

The current intersection of medicine and healthcare technology can tell us a few things about where health IT might be headed in the future. Let’s take a look at some prospective future careers in healthcare technology:

Deep Learning Experts

Technology experts have long wished to harness the powers of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare.

The problem lies in the medical data itself, which could be tainted with bias or in other ways unreflective of real hospital environments.

When properly trained through algorithms, AI could devise patient treatment plans or provide accurate diagnoses. That’s when deep learning experts enter the scene, ensuring medical algorithms are accurate and efficient.

Virtual Reality Programmers

Virtual reality (VR) shows promise for both patients and medical professionals alike. VR treatments have a long history from being used as stress relievers for veterans with PTSD to helping stroke patients achieve quick recovery times.

In the future, medical VR could be a routine treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, post-brain injury rehabilitation, and any number of mental illnesses.

Genetic Counselors

Affordable, at-home genetic tests from providers like 23andMe have given people everywhere access to information on their genetic compositions, from ancestry to potential genetic health risks.

Genetic counselors work to provide patients with risk assessments and educate them on how to best eat, exercise, and live healthily.

As technology advances, we could even see this role expanded to monitor the status of specific genes that play a role in disease.

3D Printing Surgeons

3D printing is one of the top technological advancements in the field of medicine. 3D-printed models allow surgeons to better understand the workings of a procedure, including how different body parts should look and feel.

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The uses of this technology are versatile, from custom CPAP masks for sleep apnea to reconstructed artificial ears.

Considering a HealthTech Career?

For those with a gift for technology but a passion for people, healthcare technology offers the perfect field of employment. New careers are cropping up every day, giving people opportunities to work in the areas that most interest them and develop new skills that can evolve alongside technological developments.

Whether you’re located in Nigeria, Australia, or somewhere else, the world needs effective, preventative healthcare for society to thrive in the years ahead. Be a part of the change by considering a career in healthcare technology.

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