Where the Jobs Are: Health Information Technology

Recession-proof jobs are in healthcare

Job opportunities in healthcare are projected to grow in coming years.

I attended a very intimate and interesting panel discussion last week on innovative healthcare technologies, specifically the implementation of electronic medical records (EMR) in hospitals and private practices. It was surprising and fascinating to learn that the health IT sector is booming despite the economic depression. This is mainly because of the $19 billion set aside for health information technology from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that was signed into law last year. This money is estimated to create 100,000 new jobs, such as medical transcriptionists or computer information systems managers, and more higher education programs nationwide.

Dr. Glenn Laffel, senior vice president of clinical affairs at Practice Fusion, a free web-based EMR company that hosted the event I attended at Macy’s in New York City, explained that this technology is designed to help practitioners make better decisions as it relates to improving the safety, quality, and efficiency of patient care. According to a 2009 CDC report, only 6.3% of physicians reported having a fully functional electronic health records system in use, and 20% report having some basic system in place. The panel of doctors all agreed that this is mainly due to the high cost tech companies try to charge physicians. But Practice Fusion is on a mission to change that reality, adding 200 new medical professionals each day to a community of 43,000 users by providing free software to doctors.

Laffel not only believes that EMR technology enhances communication between caregivers and patients and promotes collaboration between doctors, but also eliminates medical errors and disparities that usually occur with paper records and charts.

According to HealthGrades, 195,000 deaths a year are attributed to preventable medical errors that can be reduced by making patient data (past medical history, allergies, diagnoses, information on chronic diseases) digitally available in the case of an emergency or referral.

As far as patient privacy is concerned, apparently, digitizing your records is much safer than relying on paper. The panelists shared that, more commonly, security breaches occur from the theft of a physical object such as a patient’s chart or a physician’s unsecured laptop.

It definitely looks like EMR is the way of the future that will both benefit the physician and patient experience long-term, and help reduce the nation’s healthcare costs.

Annya Lott is the careers editor at Black Enterprise.

  • While EHRs and patient portals may stimulate more jobs in the health IT sector it may lead to job cuts with respect to administrative support staff. This makes the EHR and PHR options very desirable as an overhead containment strategy.

  • Mr.Zakhari is right.A prominent hospital here in NJ has gone paperless and jobs were cut but some employees found jobs but some had to find other jobs. What is going to happen in the next 10-20 yrs?

  • Valuable post to my career by Dale Caochman. I know some thing about Health IT sector. It is the fastest growing segment of the $1 trillion global health care marketplace, and is poised to continue its impressive growth through 2013. Thanks a lot Mr. Dale. Keep going.

  • As we are all discussing Where the Jobs Are: Health Information Technology – BLACK ENTERPRISE, Some universities and paralegal studies programs provide resources for job searches. Contact your college and find out what they can do to help you.

  • ardella hood

    I see that lastest information about HIT was entered back in 2010 i am interested in entering this field, I’m also interested in becoing a medical assistant but I need some guidance deciding which position is more promising.