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Emerging Occupations

Health Information Technology Specialist

In general, health information technology specialists plan, develop, test and implement software designed to capture, manage and display healthcare-related records and databases and conduct analysis of healthcare data.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 13,300
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Clinical Informatics Specialist, Clinical Information Systems Specialist, Health Information Analyst, Health Information Technician, Health Information Technologist, Medical Information Systems Specialist, Medical Information Systems Technician

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
NOC & Interest Codes
The Health Information Technology Specialist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Duties
Updated Feb 28, 2017

Health information technology specialists (HIT specialists) work with healthcare-related software and information technology (IT) which is designed to capture, manage and display health-related records, databases and information. Health information applications not only have the potential to improve the level of care that hospitals and clinics can provide, but also may contribute to reducing administrative costs and providing documentation that is sometimes needed in legal cases.

In general, HIT specialists perform the following duties:

  • define health information technology requirements
  • liaise with clients and stakeholders to ensure that the software or IT solutions they are working with or procuring meet the requirements of their users
  • assist in the acquisition of software or IT systems
  • participate in development, customization and testing of software or IT
  • implement or install software or IT solutions
  • maintain software or IT systems
  • assist clients or coworkers with their use of software or IT systems
  • assist in the development of education and training procedures
  • provide training and advice to senior hospital management, physicians and other healthcare workers
  • provide and prepare information to assist in sound decision-making.

Examples of the software or IT systems that HIT specialists work with include:

  • communication protocols for the secure transmission of healthcare data
  • electronic patient record systems (regionally, provincially, territorially, or nationally)
  • clinical and administrative decision support systems
  • classification systems using standardized terminology and coding
  • case management systems
  • access and referral systems for healthcare services
  • patient monitoring systems
  • digital imaging and image processing systems
  • telehealth technologies to facilitate and support remote diagnosis and treatment
  • internet and mobile technologies for engaging and assisting patients in their own care
  • public health surveillance and protection systems
  • methodologies and applications for data analysis, management and mining
  • clinical and administrative data warehouses and reporting systems
  • performance management systems
  • business, financial, administration support and logistics systems.

HIT specialists often work closely with Health Information Management Professionals and system developers (see the Computer Programmer occupational profile).

Working Conditions
Updated Feb 28, 2017

Health information technology specialists work primarily in office settings and spend the majority of their time working with computers. They may also work in and around hospitals or clinics, and may be exposed to the fast pace and increased stress levels of these environments. Given the trend towards shared Information Services Departments between healthcare facilities, travel is sometimes required.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Feb 28, 2017

Health information technology specialists need the following personal characteristics:

  • creativity
  • analytical thinking and problem solving
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • the ability to keep track of and prioritize multiple competing demands
  • strong verbal and written communication skills
  • the ability to constructively manage stress and maintain poise
  • strong client-orientation.

They should enjoy finding ways to answer questions and solve problems for clients and stakeholders.

Educational Requirements
Updated Feb 28, 2017

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation, so health information technology specialists may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Prior to enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

HIT specialists typically require an undergraduate degree, or a technical diploma and previous work experience, in a field related to computer science, information technology, management, social sciences, health sciences, or business.

Professional certification for HIT specialists is available through COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association. To earn Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems-Canada (CPHIMS-CA) certification, candidates must pass the CPHIMS and Canadian Supplemental exams. Before writing the exams, candidates must have completed a bachelor's degree plus five years of associated experience, including three years in health informatics, or a graduate degree plus three years of associated experience, including two years in health informatics.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Feb 28, 2017

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • an increased human need (for example, alternate sources of energy)
  • technological advances
  • greater specialization within an occupation.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation but future demand for health information technology specialists is unknown.

Many HIT specialists work as consultants to hospitals or to individual physicians and their staffs, and are employed by large consulting firms. Others work in Information Services Departments in public or private healthcare institutions, including hospitals, clinics and care homes.

In Alberta, HIT specialists are part of two larger 2011 National Occupational Classifications: 1122 Professional occupations in business services to management and 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants.

75% of people employed in the Professional occupations in business services to management group work in the following industries:

76% of people employed in the Information systems analysts and consultants group work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.
Wage & Salary
Updated Feb 28, 2017

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current salary data is available for this occupation. 

Salary data is available for the larger National Occupational Classification 1122: Professional occupations in business management consulting and the larger National Occupational Classification 2171: Information systems analysts and consultants as part of the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey.

Professional occupations in business management consulting
NOC code: 1122

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $29.33 $67.07 $47.08 $51.06
Overall $37.02 $72.60 $53.20 $55.77
Top $45.86 $89.42 $64.67 $68.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

13%
13%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Information systems analysts and consultants
NOC code: 2171

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $21.28 $53.33 $34.85 $34.65
Overall $29.11 $63.82 $45.67 $45.03
Top $35.56 $89.83 $57.25 $53.12

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Transportation and Warehousing
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Educational Services
Wholesale Trade
Manufacturing
Health Care & Social Assistance
Business, Building and Other Support Services (aka Management, Administrative, and other Services)
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

52%
52%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

12%
12%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

2015 Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Community Care Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Feb 28, 2017

COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association website: www.coachorg.com

National Institutes of Health Informatics (NIHI): www.nihi.ca

Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) website: www.echima.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

Alberta Network for Health Information eXchange website: www.anhix.com

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) website: www.servicealberta.ca/foip

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 01, 2013. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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