(ARA) - If you've ever considered pursuing a career in the medical and health technology fields, now might be the time to take action. Federal funding is helping to encourage growth and fuel demand for trained professionals.
President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009 a plan for economic recovery designed to pull the United States out of a deep recession. Encompassing $789 billion in funding for stimulus programs, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included funding for the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to promote the adoption of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in health care. Beginning in 2011, individual doctors and eligible medical providers can receive Medicaid incentive payments over a five-year period if they adopt a certified EHR and achieve five "meaningful use" goals adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
As a result, the Act is expected to create over 50,000 new health information technology jobs, according to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT. With doctors across the country making the switch from paper charts to electronic medical records, there's a strong demand for specialists trained on the latest medical record technology.
Moving forward, students interested in health information technology careers must prepare themselves for the technological advances of the future. At some universities, curriculum has already been created to meet the demands of the evolving health care landscape. This September, DeVry University health IT students completed their first semester trained on Practice Fusion's Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.
Practice Fusion provides a free, Web-based EMR system to physicians. With charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, unlimited support and a personal health record for patients, Practice Fusion's EMR addresses the complex needs of today's health care providers and disrupts the health IT status quo.
The school introduced Practice Fusion this summer to online students in its Health Information Fundamentals Practicum course, providing them with additional tools to facilitate their success in the program. Through the program, students learn real-world medical terminology, health information system security, ICD-9 disease coding, health information regulation and practice management skills. Students also use the Practice Fusion system for charting, scheduling and billing as part of their practicum requirement.
"It's critical that our HIT students receive as much hands-on, real-world experience as they can before entering the health care workforce," says David J. Pauldine, president of DeVry University. "EMRs have the potential to deliver more efficient and safer care for patients and doctors - university graduates need to be ready for the switch."
With Bureau of Labor Statistics naming health IT as one of the 20 fastest-growing occupations through 2012, Practice Fusion's CEO, Ryan Howard, is encouraged by EMR's adoption into health IT program curricula by nationally-reaching schools.
"Electronic Medical Record systems deliver real benefits to the U.S. health care system - from reducing health care costs to preventing medical errors," says Howard. "Students prepared with these skills represent the future of health information technology."
Students interested in these exciting careers should visit devry.edu to learn more. Doctors, nurses, academic institutions and health IT professionals interested in learning more about Practice Fusion's free, Web-based EMR system should visit practicefusion.com.