Considering the widely acknowledged need for advancement in health care technology, combined with the opportunities available for skilled individuals, now is the time to begin a program of advanced study in digital health.
“Smart mobile devices and applications, working in concert with cloud computing, social networking and big data analytics, will be at the core of global health care transformation. These transformative technologies will continue to lead with ways to help rein in cost, broaden access, change behaviors and improve outcomes.” – Pat Hyek Global Technology Industry Leader, Ernst & Young
The following is a list of four compelling reasons to seek advanced training in digital health communication:
- Digital health is the future of health care. John Nosta’s Forbes article lists 10 factors explaining why he believes 2013 was the year of digital health. “It seems that the stars are aligned. These glimmers of facts, figures, innovation and needs are converging on the year 2013.” Google Glass was all the rage in 2013 offering myriad health care applications. The company’s recent acquisition of Nest and the unveiling of their contact lenses, has Google poised to break more new ground in 2014. Not to be outdone, Apple’s latest OS features health tracking functionality with an eye toward integrating with leading EHR vendors.
- Effective communication is recognized as a critical digital health success factor. David Chase wrote an article for Forbes in the spring of 2012 suggesting that communication is the medical instrument of the future. “With healthcare representing nearly 20% of the economy, it is inevitable that communications will be a key driver as the tectonic shifts in healthcare shake out. Ushered in will be an array of new technology players similar to consumer and enterprise arenas disrupting ineffective and expensive communication methods of the past.”
- Specialized education and/or skills are required to make an impact in digital health. Larry Mickelberg’s piece for MediaPost highlights three broad areas of health care that make it difficult for the uninitiated to transition into the space (i.e. Healthcare is not discretionary, Healthcare involves multiple stakeholders with complex systems and payment structures & Healthcare skews older). “In short, healthcare is far more about avoiding pain (of all sorts) than about seeking pleasure, it’s one of the most complex ecosystems in our society and its core target audience is older rather than younger. Healthcare is a parallel universe with its own strict ethical rules, its own cultures and its own high stakes.”
- Digital health employment opportunities continue to grow.PricewaterhouseCoopers 2012 CEO survey revealed that the Health IT staffing shortage is worse than had been previously predicted. “Seventy-five percent of providers are currently hiring new employees to support their IT priorities.” Additionally, a survey of IT executives in attendance at the HIMSS 2013 conference, referenced by Lucas Mearian in ComputerWorld, concluded that finding and keeping skilled employees is their most pressing concern. “It was the second year in a row that respondents to an HIMSS survey listed staffing as the biggest barrier to implementing systems that meet new U.S. healthcare technology requirements.”
Meanwhile, Health IT salaries continue to climb:
“The average salary of a HIT professional, according to HIMSS is $113,269. Variables that can affect average annual pay include experience and seniority, skillset, region and the size and type of employer. IT workers at small ambulatory facilities (with 10 or less physicians) scored the lowest average salary — $79,482 — but got the biggest raise last year, averaging 7.98%. ” – HIMSS Compensation survey 2013
Digital health communication is an expanding field with much to offer those who endeavor to learn the ropes and contribute to the important work that must be accomplished. For information regarding Drury University’s online graduate certificate in digital health communication including how to apply, please visit the program’s enrollment page.