Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act improves patient care and creates new jobs for healthcare professionals.
The transition from paper to electronic healthcare records hasn’t been an easy one. The change requires offices to acquire new skills in health information technology (health IT) and migration of old hand-written data to certified electronic health records. As part of Obama’s healthcare initiatives, there are now incentives in place to encourage healthcare facilities to train their staff so they can become efficient users of certified EHRs. Recent updates to the provisions of the HITECH Act make it easier to receive incentive payments and that has resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of facilties and physicians using this technology.
In fact, the number of physicians using certified EHRs has doubled from 17% to 34% since 2008.
This is good news for patients, doctors and insurance companies as EHRs provide more security of medical record data, better billing accuracy and faster communication between healthcare providers.
In addition to improved quality of care, the Health IT industry is booming. The demand for qualified Health IT professionals increased 201% from 2007 through September of 2011 and the growth rate between now and 2018 is expected to be 20% which is higher than the average of all occupations.
Many community colleges, universities and online colleges are offering Health IT certifications. There are currently over 10,000 students enrolled in health information technology courses in the United States.
This is a great career choice for anyone interested in data management and healthcare and job options are broad ranging from work-from-home roles to executive hospital positions. 2010 Median Pay as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was $32,350/year.