Technology or Health? The answer to that question is not simple. But technology and health are certainly related. In fact, the two terms often are used interchangeably.
Health information technology (HIT) is the integration of technologies and systems that facilitate the safe storage, access, processing, distribution, and results of sensitive health information. Health information systems can improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase job growth. Health-related industries are growing at a rapid rate, but the healthcare industry continues to face challenges in meeting the needs of patients and ensuring their well-being. The steady job growth in this sector is directly tied to the growth of the job market in healthcare technology.
As technology news and health information increases, job titles change accordingly. Job titles like medical record administrator, quality manager, and information system administrator (ISAs) and more recently, clinical specialist, nurse practitioner, and physician assistants (NPAs) are gaining in popularity. A variety of specialties are also expanding their coverage and demand. Specialty areas include paediatrics, internal medicine, neonatology/permanent hospital care, critical care, and several others. With a focus on technology and continued job growth, these specialty positions will continue to be in high demand.
Along with job titles and responsibilities, training and certifications become a part of the medical terminology repertoire. As technologies are introduced into the workplace, job titles change accordingly as well. A medical assistant receives instruction in duties specific to their specialty area; however, the main focus will always be on technical matters. This is expected of every member of the nursing team.
Knowledge of technological issues and equipment is important, but not nearly as important as good communication skills. When individuals are hired for these types of positions, they often work in close collaboration with department heads, supervisors, and clinical staff. It is important that individuals know how to speak and conduct themselves in an appropriate clinical manner. Communication skills are often times the deciding factors in how well others accomplish their tasks. Having good verbal and written communication skills is key to a career within this environment.
An increasing number of professionals are turning to the internet to enhance their professional portfolio. Many now have set up websites to showcase their knowledge and provide contact information. Professionals involved with the health information management association (AHIMA) have taken this technology to a new level.
The AHIMA states that its mission is to advance medical care and promote optimal patient care through integrated electronic health records and other health information management services. In short, electronic health records or EHRs allow for more accessibility to patient records at a lower cost to doctors and hospitals. EHRT use is becoming more common in both acute and long term care settings. In fact, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), almost 90 percent of all hospitals will eventually adopt some type of electronic health record or EHR. For those already in the field, many are learning how to maximize their productivity while reducing their workload. Those involved with the AHIMA work to educate medical specialists on the benefits of EHR technology.
One challenge for those participating in the AHIMA is the transition from medical records being stored in paper form to digital ones. This is a fairly straightforward process; however, a good technician will make sure everything is done correctly. Digital records can be opened and downloaded in minutes whereas paper copies need to be converted and edited. Using an electronic system also means that technicians will spend less time converting paper documents into electronic ones, which will leave more time to focus on patients.
As an example of what to look for in an EHR software program, it’s important to consider how easy the project management tools on the market are. Most of the best programs for creating electronic medical records and keeping them organized involve a basic project management package that has several modules. The most popular of these include Online Document Management (ODM), Full-Time Access (FTA), and Full-Time User (FUG). When choosing an EHR software provider, take into account what technologies the organization needs to convert paper documents into electronic data. If the project management suite doesn’t include this piece of the puzzle, ask if they can be custom-tailored to meet the organization’s specific needs.
The next step is to consider the career prospects for those with an associate’s degree in information systems and health care. Although this is a more general category, these health care professionals make up the majority of employees working in this field. Technicians and entry-level administrators are also required by many hospitals. With so many options for employment, you can rest assured that almost anyone with a bachelor’s degree in the field can find gainful employment.
It’s important to note that the vast majority of roles involved with patient care do not require an associate degree. However, a number of jobs do require certification from one of the six major certifying agencies. A good associate degree program includes training in diagnosing and managing common childhood illnesses like pneumonia and allergies as well as more specialized areas such as HIV and hepatitis. In addition, a strong associate degree will prepare graduates for positions as aides and administrators in hospitals, clinics and offices.