Computer careers might not be the first things that come to mind when you think about healthcare. But, there are several different types of computer science healthcare jobs. Actually, many healthcare computer jobs are in high demand.
The healthcare industry is also growing because of technology. Advancements in technology have made a significant impact on modern medicine. These include machines and robots that have made lives more comfortable and enabled us to live for longer.
Technology and computer science both play such a critical role in today’s medical industry. It’s one of those behind-the-scenes jobs that it’s easy to ignore. Without them, medical advancements wouldn’t continue to move forward. If you’re interested in computer science or have experience, you could find a rewarding job in the healthcare field.
How is Computer Science Used in the Medical Field?
It’s easy to think of healthcare jobs as just doctors, nurses, etc. But, without computers, the healthcare system wouldn’t run as smoothly. Computer science is used on a daily basis, not only to keep things functioning but to continue to make progress.
Once you realize just how much computers are used in the medicine, it’s easy to get excited about the possibility of a rewarding career. Whether you already have a computer science degree or you’re considering taking one, using it in the healthcare industry is a fantastic idea. You could work on something that could potentially change the face of medicine for the future as we know it.
Now that you know computer science plays a vital role in medicine, you’re probably curious about the different career options. There are job choices that allow you to work with computers and contribute to the healthcare industry in a significant way.
IT Professionals in Hospitals
If you’ve been to a hospital at some point in your life, it’s hard to ignore how many computers are being used everywhere. Nowadays, hospitals, doctor’s offices and more use complex networks to keep everything in order.
Computers and networks are used in medical facilities every day. They are used for things like scheduling. They can also be used for storing patient information. Or, letting staff members know other important information. These networks are also used for communication. As you can imagine, with so much stored on computers, it would be devastating if something were to go wrong.
Many hospitals have IT expert on their staff, or they work with a professional from an IT company. Most busy hospitals and offices want to make sure their computers and systems are operating efficiently at all times. So, general ‘checkups’ are often done on systems.
There is so much more to being an IT professional in a hospital than you might think. Unfortunately, many people who study computer science believe that they have to work for a large company or within the business industry. If more computer science graduates realized the opportunities in healthcare as IT professionals, they would jump at the chance for a job.
Aside from making sure all systems are working each day, they can provide the following services:
- Troubleshooting: Unfortunately, systems do go down sometimes. Glitches occur, and things aren’t always perfect. As an IT professional in medicine, it’s so important to get things up and running again as quickly as possible. You’ll be able to troubleshoot software and programs in ways that others can’t, even if you’re dealing with third-party systems.
- Teaching: Computer science graduates are often quite good at showing others how to use software programs. You can use your skills to teach/train a medical staff how to use different programs. This will help to ensure that errors happen less often and there likely won’t be as many problems with the program.
- Updating: Technology changes and advances all the time. It’s the job of an IT professional to make sure software and hardware are both up-to-date in medical offices. Hospitals can’t run on old computers or other equipment. They also need fast, reliable networks. Keeping up with these changes is a big part of the job.
There are computer science jobs in healthcare that can help many people but are more behind-the-scenes. One of the best examples of this is a software developer. It’s easy to associate developers with things like big businesses or digital programs. But, the medical industry uses (and needs) software developers to make progress.
As a software developer in the medical field, you can create a variety of different programs that can help people for years to come.
Software engineers help to create programs that can be used in hospitals and clinics to make the lives of doctors a bit easier. But, they also work on programs that make it easier for patients to get the care they need.
Some examples of current programs in place in the medical industry include:
- Scheduling portals – These help doctors in big hospitals and small practices keep their schedule in order. Programs like this can do everything from keeping doctors on task to letting them know more about the patients they are seeing.
- Patient information – In a world that is going ‘green’ in as many ways as possible, many medical offices have turned away from paper files and charts. Instead, patient information and records are stored in software programs and across networks. Software programmers help to develop the programs that can make this possible.
- Diagnosing – Better software is continuously being created. It is used for diagnosing and treating patients. Specific programs can help put together a treatment plan and make it more transparent for the patient. This can do wonders for the patient’s peace of mind, and make the physician’s job a bit easier.
- Patient care – Software benefits don’t end in the hospital. So much technology is currently available. Because of this, medical software advancements have become more mobile than ever. Mobile and even wearable devices have become available to patients at home. These devices can help patients stay on track with their treatment. They do everything from reminding them to take medication to monitor their heart rate and blood pressure.
As you might expect, programs like these (and many more) are consistently going through updates and upgrades. Medical facilities will always need software developers and programmers to move forward and keep getting better. The more technology that becomes available, the more people can be helped. It may be doctors that work one-on-one with patients, but software programmers give them many resources to do that.
Hospital Software Researcher
A different side of software development is research. Researchers that work for hospitals or universities often develop the technology used for scientific journals. When that technology is needed, it can be put to good use because it has already been developed and recorded.
The interesting thing about this type of research is that it’s quite broad and ‘general.’ It doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific product. Instead, it encompasses a broader idea that can be used for different products and solutions.
The exciting thing about this type of research is that it’s made available to the public once it’s complete. This is because it’s funded by the government, through various grants.
Researchers who do this type of work have accomplished ways to improve surgeries and have developed new medications. They continue to develop new technologies that can be used in a variety of different ways. If you want to work in a hospital environment and produce some of the best techniques and cures of tomorrow via computer science, this is a great job opportunity.
Some computer programmers find work as researchers in private organizations. But, their research still focuses on healthcare. This research is mostly done by medical supply companies. These companies develop programs and products that are then sold to hospitals, clinics, etc., throughout the world.
The work done in these facilities has made a massive impact in the world of medicine. Things like robots and medical software are often developed thanks to privately-funded businesses. Plus, as more medical facilities buy the products, these companies can use that money for even more research, programming, etc.
Your work will be kept private by the company you work for, so if you develop something, your name won’t be attached. But, you can take pride in knowing the products you help to create can make a big difference in healthcare technology.
To work for a privately-funded organization, most employers need you to have a Master’s degree in computer science. But, Bachelor’s degrees are sometimes accepted, depending on your experience.
If you want to work directly in healthcare and with computers, an informatics nurse is an excellent opportunity for tying the two worlds together. Informatics nurses check and test different healthcare facilities. They then use their findings to determine which clinical IT programs can help.
Informatics nurses share their findings and reports. They are also responsible for training staff to make sure everyone knows how to use the latest programs and technologies. They work as a bridge between the medical industry and IT.
The great thing about this position is the ability to see things from ‘both sides.’ With your medical knowledge, you’ll be able to create the best evaluations for how technology is being used and how it could be better. From an IT standpoint, you can then use those improvements and make sure everyone is on board. This is an incredibly important job that is a hands-on solution for improving patient care through technology.
You don’t have to take two separate course structures in college. A nursing degree is required for this job.
Some employers may also want you to gain certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. There is a certification for informatics that can be beneficial when you’re looking for a job.
Clinical Data Analyst
A clinical data analyst has the job of developing and maintaining databases for healthcare systems. They compile data collected from things like clinical trials. Then, they analyze that data and create reports. These studies and reports are essential for the future of healthcare. They let physicians know what works and what doesn’t, and how they can better serve their patients on a daily basis.
Clinical data analysts can also help to create clinical applications based on their data research and reports. If you’re someone who loves working with computers and database systems, this could be a great job.
But, data analysts in the healthcare industry should also have some other characteristics, like:
- Critical thinking
- Strong verbal skills
- Excellent written communication
- Problem-solving skills
- Knowledge of industry-specific software
Healthcare Informatics Analyst
The responsibilities of a health informatics analyst are somewhat like those of a clinical data analyst. But, they are on a larger scale and can cover many different areas of the healthcare industry.
There are different types of health informatics, including:
- Consumer health – Focuses on making things easier for patients and consumers.
- Public health – Focuses on population data to create data for preparedness and prevention.
- Clinical – Helps to speed up the delivery of healthcare information.
- Translational – Focuses on biomedical data and how it’s stored.
All these sections fall underneath the umbrella of healthcare informatics. To find a career in one of them, a computer science degree is typically required. You may also receive favor if you have experience in management science and information science.
The interesting thing about a job in healthcare informatics is that there are many different places to work. Of course, there are many jobs in hospitals that depend on collected data. But, people in this field can also work for the government, private organizations, or for universities. If you’re driven by data and want to use it to help a large part of the population or influence how the healthcare industry works, this is a great career option.
Is There a Demand for Computer Jobs in the Medical Field?
Because many people are in constant need of care, so many jobs are opening up on a regular basis in the medical field. That means more than just doctors and nurses. There are many opportunities for computer science graduates to work in healthcare and have a significant impact.
From the jobs discussed here, you can see that the opportunities can be a reflection of your specific skill sets and talents. Whether you’re good at fixing computers or developing software programs, there is a need.
There will likely always be a need for computer science graduates in the healthcare industry. Technology isn’t slowing down. Because of that, new technologies will be used in medical facilities all over the world for years to come. As a result, patient care will be better than ever, and more lives can be saved and improved.
If there weren’t any researchers, programmers or troubleshooters, technology wouldn’t be able to advance. The healthcare system would be stifled. The chances of that happening are nearly impossible, but it does mean there are many opportunities for you if you want to work with computers on a daily basis. As technology continues to become more widely available, additional jobs will open up between computer science and healthcare.
How Much Training is Needed for a Medical Job in IT?
The type of training or schooling needed to have a computer job in the healthcare industry varies. It can vary by the job itself, or what the employer wants. For example, many people can get a job as an IT professional with just a Bachelor’s degree. But, many employers prefer Master’s degrees for such a position.
Most of the other jobs on this list also either demand or give preference to people with Master’s degrees. There’s a good reason for this! Technology is always changing and adapting. Going to school to learn about those changes and continuing your education to keep up with them can be beneficial not only for you but for whoever you work for.
Some jobs, like software developing or clinical research, do need Master’s degrees. This is mostly because these careers are so influential. The best of the best people are required to keep moving technology forward to help patients and improve the medical industry altogether.
You may not always need a Master’s degree to land an excellent computer science job in the medical field. But, it’s a good idea to continue your education and try to get one, even if you already have a job. Not only will it help you in the long run, but you may be able to make more money with a higher degree.
If you find that you’re interested in both computers and medicine, try balancing out your coursework with a bit of both. Many people who want to work in computer science in the medical field take classes that can help them in both areas. Some beneficial courses could include life sciences, like biology.
How Much Can a Computer Science Employee Earn?
Because so much schooling and training are typically involved, most computer science employees in the medical field make a lucrative salary. The salary depends on the job itself. But, the average salary for a computer scientist is almost $77,000.
- Fact: The highest paid positions in healthcare informatics can make over $90,000 each year. One of the primary factors in the pay scale is where you work. For example, those working in larger cities may make more doing a computer science job in healthcare. Chicago offers the highest-paying salary for informatics. Employees are averaging $84,000 each year.
Most people join the computer science industry to put technology to good use and to see how far it can go. When you also work in the medical field, you’re going even further with that idea. So, while the salaries are competitive in this field, it’s also incredibly rewarding work on its own. The work you do will pave the way for the future of medicine in ways that may not have been imaginable before.
From IT to research, there are many computer science jobs in the medical field. Because not everyone considers healthcare when they get a computer science degree, these jobs are in high demand! Again, the healthcare industry isn’t going to slow down. As new technology becomes available, it will only continue to speed up. As a result, people experienced with computers will be needed more than ever in the industry.
It can take a lot of schooling and training to get a degree in computer science. But, when you work in the medical field, you’ll be putting that degree to good use. The things you work on could help to keep hospitals running smoothly on a daily basis. Or, you could develop a program or product that helps thousands of people.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to how technology will impact the healthcare system. But, great computer science workers are needed to make it happen and make changes for the future. If you’re savvy with computers and want to make a difference in the healthcare industry, consider one of the jobs in this guide for a fulfilling career.
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