He was one of the first certified HIPAA Security Specialists (HIPAA stands for the U.S. Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act): as an IT trainer, speaker, and consultant, Michael Shannon (Fig. 1) helps IT administrators train for CompTIA certification exams (CompTIA is an international association of IT vendors), while providing underlying skills they need for their next steps into networking. Shannon’s training videos show how to configure, install, control, secure, maintain, and troubleshoot basic network infrastructure. They are available online [http://www.cbtnuggets.com/it-training-videos/series/ctia_health] through CBT Nuggets. This IT training company offers an extensive library of online streaming as well as DVD-based instructional videos covering the major IT categories. Finn Snyder spoke with Shannon.
?Please describe the IT staffing situation of U.S. and European care providers.
Michael Shannon: I recently began developing a series of CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certification training videos. This is probably the most excited I've ever been about a series because I'm thrilled about the possibilities for healthcare IT staff looking to expand their IT careers and technological horizons. Recent studies have shown that, for a variety of reasons, there is a huge shortage – as well as a big demand – for healthcare IT specialists. Healthcare IT jobs are predicted to increase much faster than the average for all occupations, with an expected growth of 20 percent by 2018. And interestingly, there is a specific shortfall of people to fill 500,000 highly skilled jobs in Europe, many of them in healthcare. According to the PeopleCert Group, a global organization with wide experience in the certification industry, that number is projected to reach 700,000 by 2015.
?What about continuing qualification of staff?
Shannon: The good news for us in the U.S., and in some other countries, is that the new technologies we are mastering right now – such as virtualization, cloud computing, wireless networking, enterprise security, and mobility – are being integrated faster into the healthcare and medical sectors due to several ongoing government programs and stimulus activities over the past five years. As a matter of fact – cloud data services, mHealth (a newish term meaning the use of existing smartphones, handhelds, pads, etc by doctors and clinicians), Connected Health, as well as related security issues are on the forefront of emerging healthcare technology.
In fact, IT staff learning about LANs, WANs, and MANs, may soon be adding MBANs to their vocabulary. MBANs are wireless patient monitoring systems carried by medical professionals to remotely monitor vital signs from sensors worn by patients. This innovation that combines communications technology and healthcare will be an essential aspect of future economic growth, job creation, and improvements in quality of life. This enhancement of wireless patient monitoring systems will help speed diagnosis, allow for faster intervention, generate faster response, and ultimately optimize patient care as well as reduce healthcare costs.
?Why should security be considered a key qualification goal?
Shannon: For anyone specializing in security as I do, it should become evident that our expertise will be in even greater demand going forward. This is particularly pertinent to the European Community, where European Commission directives focus on the importance of data protection.
Emerging MBANs, medical data cloud services and other new technologies are always delivered with security vulnerabilities. In addition, they are all under mandate for privacy and security protection, so there will be an almost endless opportunity for the IT/Security practitioner to „ramp-up“ into the medical and healthcare sector for an exciting and rewarding career. The new CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician track is a great value-add to accompany any existing Microsoft, Cisco, Juniper, CompTIA, or even Project Management certification path to increase his or her existing job market value.