Posted on | December 30, 2008 | No Comments
THE DOCTOR IS IN…YOUR COMPUTER
The health care industry’s been hot this year. Expect it to be even hotter in 2009.
Already cost increases have slowed, job losses have cost many their health care coverage, and President Obama and his team will likely make major changes to health care coverage and expenses.
Another factor turning up the heat in the health care sector is the entry of tech giants into the space. Google and Microsoft tip-toed into the industry in 2008, but expect them to go full-steam ahead in their attempts to digitize medical records and change the way health care practitioners and patients access and use medical information. Google Health has already struck deals with Quest Diagnostics Inc., Aetna Inc., Walmart and Walgreens pharmacies. Microsoft’s HealthVault, a platform that allows you to manage your personal health records, has partnered with Beth Israel Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Aetna and OptumHealth.
The health care industry’s final heat factor is the DIY-factor. Born of necessity and good business sense, retailers are beginning to expand their pharmacies to offer a greater variety of basic health care services via “minute clinics”, clinics that offer diagnostic tests, vaccinations and other low-cost procedures in a retail setting. These clinics will provide “wellness” care and screening for many people who might not otherwise see a doctor due to the expense and lack of health care coverage.
Relatedly, expect to see faster growth in DIY medical websites and portals such as WebMD.
Career & Business Opportunities
The entry of major tech companies into the health care space will drive the creation of jobs that straddle the line between technology and health care.
In addition to new types of health care jobs, expect to see more health care technology startups diving into the health care pool hoping to catch the eye, and pocketbooks, of the big guys (Google, Microsoft or other tech giants).
Microsoft is willing to help you advance your health care technology career via its Be Well Fund, a $4.5M fund designed to “assist academic and research health organizations in the creation of innovative online health applications for patients”, its Microsoft Research arm which offers fellowships, internships, academic awards, and, of course, jobs, and its MSDN HealthVault Developer Center which provides the tools you’ll need to develop and sell HealthVault apps or devices of your own and an opportunity to list your app/device in its partner apps or device directories, and your business in its consultant directory.
Prefer to work with Google or its Google Health platform? You’re in luck. Google, too, has a developer center with the same opportunities offered by Microsoft. Most of the providers who work with Microsoft’s HealthVault also use Google Health, and many are hiring. And, if only the real thing will do…Google is hiring.
For more on this prediction and the coming career opportunities, read January’s Careersthatdontsuck.com newsletters.