Jobs in health services administration help maintain the business side of health care. Job responsibilities involve much of the behind-the-scenes work that patients don’t often witness while visiting clinics and other medical facilities.
Professionals in the health services administration field often work as clinical managers, health services managers and nursing home administrators, fulfilling several important day-to-day duties. These include managing finances, improving efficiency and quality, staying up to date on new laws and regulations, keeping and organizing records, supervising assistant administrators, and representing the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards.
As the use of technology in health care rapidly evolves, jobs in the medical field have been adapting, transforming and, in some cases, disappearing.
This is particularly true amidst the rising importance of health informatics, a discipline that lies at the intersection of information technology, communications and health care. The goal of health informatics is to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of patient care through effective information management.
With health informatics actively streamlining many now-antiquated processes within medical facilities, many are wondering about the effect this could have on current and future health care jobs. Join us as we dig into the statistics to uncover the true impact of informatics in health care and explore what this means for health services administrators and other health care jobs.
The true impact of informatics in health care
Information is critical for operating a high-quality and effective medical practice. With informatics evolving in recent years to focus on how information is acquired, stored and used in health care, it can act as a tool to promote patient-centered care.
Among many other notable changes, informatics is impacting how care providers and patients communicate with one another. While physicians may have previously been shielded somewhat from patients by receptionists, answering services and pagers, patients are now able to engage directly with their providers anywhere through email.
But that’s far from the only change that’s been ushered in by the rise of health informatics. For a more comprehensive snapshot, consider the following examples of how informatics affects the daily duties and interactions of health care professionals:
- Most patient vitals can now be automatically monitored through technology that alerts the medical professional only when there is a concern.
- Doctors can now upload patient notes and records directly into the information system without the risk of misinterpretation by others if handwriting is illegible.
- Diagnoses can now be made with a more comprehensive understanding of a patient’s history with the instantaneous availability of electronic records.
- Pharmacists can now deliver prescriptions with a lower risk of unintended mistakes or misinterpretation and with complete information about a patient’s history of allergies and other medications.
- In necessary circumstances, medical specialists can consult with physicians telemetrically and even consult directly with patients through the use of a video camera operated by a bedside professional.
While data is still being collected to understand the full impacts of the rising health informatics industry, promising statistics have been released that indicate positive outcomes. For example, one study concluded that the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) was found to be independently associated with fewer patients with prolonged lengths of stay and seven-day readmissions.
Other benefits of health informatics taking on a more prominent role in our health care system include the following:
- Dramatic financial savings due to fewer delays in care, fewer errors in delivery of care, fewer repeat procedures and more.
- Ease of shared knowledge between care providers, researchers and patients through electronic health records.
- Increased patient participation, which often empowers patients to take a more active role in their own health care.
- Improved coordination between the various medical providers that patients interact with, including physicians, specialists, pharmacists and others.
- Better outcomes have been documented as a result of implementing electronic medical records, including higher-quality and safer care.
The most reliable way to ensure your qualifications meet the needs for the successful health care management career you’ve been hoping to build is to continue evolving your education as the industry changes and expands
How do these changes affect health care jobs?
Big changes in any industry will inevitably trickle down to impact jobs in one way or another. With health informatics effectively streamlining many processes within the medical community, new job roles will be needed to ease the transitions while many current jobs will transform to adapt to these changes. It’s also true that other job titles will inevitably become obsolete as a result, wrote Dr. Xiaoming Zeng, MD, PhD, in the North Carolina Medical Journal.
One predominant change initiated by health informatics is the transition from a largely paper-based environment to one that is primarily electronic. To assist medical facilities in adapting to these new information systems, there has become a need for professionals to work as information management redesign specialists to optimize the information technology initiatives being put into place. In many cases, a need is also presented for support specialists who can provide on-site user support.
Another new role — clinical informatician — will utilize clinical expertise and mastery of information systems to participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of EHR systems, Zeng said. We can also expect to see an increase in medical scribes who help physicians electronically document clinical encounters with patients.
The only current health care jobs that are likely to become obsolete as a result of health informatics are roles largely composed of processing paper for medical records and documentation, such as file clerks.
Other health care jobs, such as those within the health services administration sphere, will inevitably be impacted by the big changes health informatics is ushering into the industry. Many positions will begin requiring additional training regarding new technological practices, and you can expect to see degree programs adapting quickly to these new standards. However, once health care professionals move past any initial hurdles presented in the transition to an electronic environment, these changes are designed to provide more ease in the day-to-day duties of health services administration professionals and medical professionals at large.
Will you be involved in the future of health care?
Whether you’re already working in health care and wondering how you can secure your spot within the workforce amidst big changes, or you’ve had your sights set on beginning a career in the industry, you can rest assured that degree programs have begun implementing curricula that incorporate the latest advances in health care technology.
The most reliable way to ensure your qualifications meet the needs for the successful health care management career you’ve been hoping to build is to continue evolving your education as the industry changes and expands. Depending on your personal educational needs, learn more about the bachelor’s or master’s degrees in health services administration at Hodges University.