Big Data and Jobs for Life Scientists

Posted in BioBusiness

Many recent articles in various publications including the lay media suggest that persons with quantitative skills and a firm grasp of the scientific method will be in high demand in the near future. This is because there is a current data surge coming from “sophisticated tracking of shipments, sales, suppliers and customers, as well e-mail, Web traffic and social network comments.” And, the quantity of business data has been estimated to double every 1.2 years!

According to a 2011 report Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity” put together by the McKinsey Global Institute, harvesting, managing, mining and analyzing “big new data sets” can lead to a new wave of innovation, accelerated productivity and economic growth. And, the place where this may be felt first is theUS healthcare system. The report asserts that better management of big data sets can lead to as much as $300 billion in savings. Also, American retail companies could possibly increase their operating profit margins by as much as 60 percent. However, one of the major hurdles to this paradigm shift is a talent and skills gap. TheUS alone will likely need 140,000 to 190,000 with expertise in statistical methods and data-analysis skills. McKinsey also notes that an additional 1.5 million data-literate manages will be required. Accordingly, “Every manager will really have to understand something about statistics and experimental design going forward,” noted one of the report’s authors.

As far as jobs for scientists in the healthcare realm are concerned, the report suggests that

“….the biggest slice of the $300 billion gain is expected to come from more effectively using data to inform treatment decisions. The tools include clinical decision support to assist doctors, and comparative effectiveness research to make more informed decisions on drug therapy.” That said, life scientists with backgrounds in statistical analyses, bioinformatics, genomics, public health, epidemiology and quantitative analysis will be ideal candidates for these new job opportunities.”

While these types of jobs (mainly health informatics) are certain to available in the future, it isn’t clear how soon. This is because the big-data trend has just begun and, according to economists, it may take years to recognize its financial advantages and benefits. In any event, it is something for life scientists who may be considering alternate career options, to think about. To that end, if you begin to train for these opportunities now, you may find yourself in the right place at the right time in the not-to-distant future.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

The Top Ten Fastest-Growing Career Options for Life Scientists

Posted in BioJobBuzz sent me a list of the  ten fastest growing jobs expected in the US from 2008 to 2018. While career options like skin care specialists (vocational training), physician assistants (MS), athletic trainers (BS), financial examiners (BS), dental hygienists (associate degree) and physical therapist aides (associate degree) appear on the list, the fastest growth and greatest need is for biomedical engineers (#1), network system and data communication analysts (#3), medical scientists (#5) and biochemists and biophysicists (#7).

 The Ten Fastest-Growing Jobs You Should Go To School For Today

With the exception of medical scientists (which require a PhD degree), bachelor degrees are required for entry level biomedical engineers, systems analysts and biochemists and biophysicists. While I am not convinced that there is a growing demand for more PhD life scientists, I think the other options listed are viable career choices especially in the area of health information technology.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!


Its Official: Health Informatics is One of the Hottest New Career Options for LIfe Scientists

Posted in BioJobBuzz

I don’t want to brag but I have been touting career options in health informatics and health information technology (HIT) for the past year or so. Today, I came across a post by CareerBuilders declaring health informatics and HIT are the hottest new career trends to hit the market in recent years. 

As the drive towards digitizing medical and healthcare records continue, there will be literally thousands of job opportunities for people with the right skill sets. Getting a nursing degree is one of the steps to achieve a great career in health informatics!

Health informatics will put technology in place that provides hospitals and other health-care providers with access to an electronic network of vital patient information such as like medical histories and prescriptions. The information age finally meets healthcare administration.

The facts
The health informatics initiative won’t succeed unless employees — that’s you! — bring the specialized skills needed to build and expand the network. All other pieces are in place:

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes $20.6 billion to help providers drive adoption and development of the IT infrastructure needed
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects health information management employment to grow nearly 18 percent by 2016
  • The BLS projects a need for more than 6,000 new professionals each year through 2014 — but only 2,600 graduates have entered the field this past year 

Your opportunity
To succeed, health informatics (HIM) will demand a wide variety of specialized positions across IT and health care. It will engage conventional experience from both areas — such as registered nurses and LPNs/LVNs, or IT implementation specialists and IT project managers — if you’re looking for a new twist on your current career.

But new positions will also thrive in this hybrid field. Look for new HIM job titles in your next job search, like health IT professionals, HIM coders, HIM medical records professionals and various health informatics specialists, including trainers, researchers and analysts.

Get online to check out the job titles mentioned above and listed below for related descriptions, and see if you might need any additional training to meet requirements: 

- Telemedicine clinical professionals

- Chief nursing information officers

- Clinical IT liaisons 

Again, getting a nursing degree is one of the steps to achieve a successful career in health informatics

Health-care administration
- Medical and health services managers

- Document scanners

- Data entry clerks

- File clerks

IT specialists
- Senior programmers

- Senior clinical analysts

- Database analysts

- Developers

- Business analysts

- Software engineers

- Data integration specialists

Not too shabby of a list! In a previous blog post I identified a variety of training options for people interested in pursuing careers in health informatics and HIT. Check it out!

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!


Health Information Technology: The Next Frontier

Posted in BioJobBuzz

In a previous post I lauded health information technology (HIT) aka health informatics as a possible new career choice for scientists with life sciences PhD degrees who also have a proclivity for software development and data base management. Shortly after I posted the piece, I happened to read an article in a local publication about a NJ-based company called the MISI Company that is at the forefront of the HIT field and developing software to help digitize American healthcare records. 

I invited Dave Roth, an MISI executive, to share his views on the future of HIT and what ought to be done to insure that e-medical records are appropriately and successfully created. BTW, for my bioinformatics and genomics friends, MISI is looking to hire a few talented men and women who are interested in HIT careers.

HIT: The Other Missing Link

by Dave Roth

Health information technology (HIT) is hot. There’s every reason to believe that HIT will play a major role in the reforms envisioned for our health care system. From President Obama announcing $5B in grants to aid medical research, to bioinformaticists developing tools for predicting genetic predisposition to diseases, to software developers working on electronic medical records (EMR) systems, HIT is a burgeoning field. What concerns people like me – read: people who are users of technology rather than the developers of it – is that all this HIT talk seems to have very little mention of us in it.

Not long ago, I wrote an article called The Missing Link in Healthcare IT: The Consumer. In it I pointed out that none of the current government definitions being proposed for "meaningful use" of electronic medical record (EMR) systems define meaningful from the healthcare consumer’s perspective. I also noted that whatever rules the government establishes for receiving stimulus money for the development of HIT solutions, none of them will exclude technologists from collaborating with consumers in the development of their solutions. I posited that technologists would be doing us all a favor if they would stop to consider for a moment how their systems will affect the consumer’s experience of health care services.

I was encouraged when David Goldhill, in his cover story in the September 2009 issue of Atlantic Monthly, How American Health Care Killed My Father, wrote, “[A] guiding principle of any reform should be to put the consumer, not the insurer or the government, at the center of the system.” Goldhill’s prescription for a better health care system begins with advocating for the consumers of services and focusing on how to get the best outcomes for those consumers at a reasonable cost. He was channeling the views of many people, such as Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger, who believe consumer-driven health care is the only reform that will truly be meaningful.

The growing visibility of the consumer in this debate has gotten me to thinking there is real opportunity in the HIT job market for another missing link: Consumer-centric Health IT Developers. It is a rare developer who brings to his/her craft an appreciation of the importance of understanding who you are developing for. Rarer still is the developer who is aware of and employs tools and techniques for capturing end-users’ feedback during the development process. More often than not, user-centered design (UCD) is considered a luxury that burns up time and precious dollars. This misconception is largely the result of development teams typically waiting until they are too far into the development cycle before engaging with those who will be using their creation. Inevitably, problems are discovered with the usability or utility of the system that will hinder adoption. But the problems are discovered too late to be fixed by the target launch date and/or within budget. Users/Consumers become the enemy in this scenario.

There is another way. HIT technologists should understand how and why to engage their target audience at the beginning of the development process, long before anything is actually developed. They should begin by understanding who they are developing for, what these people are looking to accomplish, and how they can best help them accomplish it. Using such techniques has been shown to actually reduce downstream development work and increase adoption. I believe technologists schooled in the techniques of consumer-centered design will be central to any successful, long-term health care reform.

Dave is Vice President and  heads MISI Company’s Experience Design (XD) group – a group of strategists, experience architects, visual designers and technologists whose mission is to help ensure the success of every interaction between a business and its target audience. His career spans 30 years and includes award-winning work in documentary and corporate film/video, print advertising, and interactive software application development for computers and the Internet. Dave is a Stanford University grad, a SF 49ers fan and a member of the Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Society.