As today’s generation of young students and professionals contemplate their futures, I offer these top five reasons for why they should consider a career in healthcare technology management (HTM).
- HTM is an up-and-coming field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2012 and 2022, employment growth for what it describes as “healthcare practitioners and technical occupations” will increase by about 21% in comparison to the average estimated employment growth rate of just under 11%. Unlike many other fields, about half of this demand will come from the creation of brand new jobs, rather than the filling of positions of retired workers. Additionally, an estimated $159 billion was spent on medical devices in the United States. Professionals who can manage this equipment, as well as find opportunities to improve and optimize its use in a variety of settings, are currently and will continue to be in demand.
- HTM is at the forefront of technology, science, and business. From instant blood work results with the “blood test in a box,” to robots that perform surgery, to 3D printing of cartilage using stem cells, to the pursuit of the closed-loop artificial pancreas, the sky is the limit when it comes to innovation in healthcare. These innovations will shape how healthcare is delivered in the future, and they have the potential to enhance quality of care, improve the patient experience, and reduce cost to the system.
- A career in HTM provides a lot of flexibility both in terms of where you work geographically and the immediate work environment itself. As a healthcare technology professional, you could work in a hospital or clinic, with a healthcare service provider, a medical device company, a health technology startup, a standards-setting organization, or in health policy. A career in HTM can also provide you with the knowledge, experience, and skills to branch off and start your own medical device company. Regardless of where you work, you are likely to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, surgeons, IT specialists, managers, and administrators to solve complex problems and help people—especially patients and their families.
- There is an amazing and supportive community for HTM professionals at all stages of their careers in AAMI. There are opportunities to continue learning, meet your peers, become part of the discussion to shape the role of HTMs, impact standards, and help shape health policy.
- Absolutely everyone you know, including you, will end up in hospital or require medical care at some point. As an HTM, you will have the opportunity to influence the healthcare landscape for the better by improving the quality, efficiency, appropriateness, and safety of healthcare and medical devices for generations to come.
Melissa Kozak is a clinical engineer at the Techna Institute with University Health Network in Canada.