Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Jobs in Health IT Driven by EHR Technology

The following is a guest post by Jim Kelly:

Are you looking for a job in Health IT? There are many jobs out there, so position yourself as an experienced health IT professional by gaining experiencing and understanding what is driving EMR technology.

Thanks to the Health information Technology Act, the market for electronic medical records (EMR) is set to explode. This legislation provided the basis for EMRs and their introduction into the healthcare industry. Some of that introduction has been rocky, but systems have improved and EMR is expected to greatly increase the quality of health care over the next ten to fifteen years.

We are not there yet, but the EMR industry is driven by more than just incentives for adoption. Real changes are made every day because of doctor and technician interaction drives this amazing field.

Usability

Data entry is tedious and prone to human error, so stop-guards need to be in place to keep information accurate. One of the methods used is to cut down on the number of keystrokes needed to enter patient information. EMRs have special shortcut keystrokes, and staff can enter partial codes for quick retrieval.

Pre-built templates also cut down on the burden of entering information and keep staff from mistakenly entering data. You can also create forms on your local devices that document common patient complaints. All of this saves compounded time that means doctors can squeeze in a few extra visits or have more time to do research.

Patients also appreciate that prescription data can be filled out more efficiently and ordered from the office.


Affordability

In past implementations, IT staff was needed to maintain and setup the system, but web-based EMR systems have largely leveled the playing field. Doctors can sign up for services that are tailored to their needs, with support staff ready when things go wrong. Providers like HealthFusion often don’t even charge for training, and usually don’t require long-term contracts. Providers may also feature an automated system that backs up recorded patient information.

Disruption to Staff

Early attempts at EHRs were cumbersome and required a lot of downtime while staff waited for things to happen. That has largely changed thanks to advances in user interface, but difficult programs still require extended training. It’s important to pair up with a provider that does not charge for training, but you also want someone who has an extensive library to cover any and all issues. Support staff is also important.

Ask for help in training staff, keeping in mind that any downtime costs you resources. It’s more efficient to fully train one individual and designate that person as a point of contact. Staff should receive training as needed, but the point of contact should solve most concerns that arise on a daily basis.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth, and its cost, deeply affect the efficiency of EMR programs. Smaller practices are more agile and able to shop IT providers for the best deals on bandwidth. Hospitals are less capable of changing, as the result could lead to downtime and may disrupt patient care.

You can take steps to eliminate bandwidth consumption in-office by putting an end to music streaming services and cutting all downloads, except for work-sensitive files. In addition, run regular virus scans and invest in a new router for your office. Also, make sure that router is placed in an area where the signal can reach everyone’s terminal. Small changes like these may improve bandwidth more than an expensive plan.

What Needs to Change

Of course EMRs are not perfect, but the process is still being refined. Driven by Meaningful Use and HITECH, the technology will continue to improve. Patient information needs to transfer to insurance providers and pharmacists faster. It helps ensure accuracy of billing and speed up the claims process so everyone gets paid on time. Communication between doctors also needs to speed up in official channels.

Eventually, patient information will save lives. For now, there is a great need for engineers to build the software that medical staff will use to save lives.

About the author:

About the Author: Jim Kelly is an online blogger focused on education, career, science, and research. He has found online writing to be a passion of his due to the ability to write on numerous topic to numerous audiences. Kim has been reading and writing on those topics for years and you can find some more of Jim's writing at theeducationupdate.com

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