Monday, November 15, 2010

The migration to electronic health records

We told you about those 45,000 new healthcare jobs that are coming to Philly over the next 10 years. You might be wondering where exactly those jobs will be. I came across an interesting article in the New York Times last month that provides a great illustration of the expected growth in the health information management field, particularly surrounding patient records. What’s the big deal? They’re going electronic. It’s an inevitable shift – everything is digital, so why wouldn’t medical records follow suit? Given the drawbacks of paper records including illegible handwriting and single user access, it’s a logical idea that automating processes like order entry for prescriptions will be common practice as well.  

The article by reporter Steve Lohr further demonstrates the inevitable shift toward electronic health records (EHRs) for large hospitals and small physician practice alike. An accompanying post in DealBook refers to Mr. Lohr’s reporting that “medical experts have long agreed that digital patient records and electronic prescribing can help improve care and curb costs.” And with the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package, there is a renewed push (coming in the form of incentive payments) to encourage the use of electronic health records.

So what does this mean for you as a student pursuing a degree in healthcare information management? Jobs! Whether it is in medical offices, technology companies, law firms that deal with healthcare law, etc. I’m always watching the trends and growing areas of the industry, so I’ll continue to share things here with you.