If you are working to pursue a career in the healthcare industry, then it’s likely you’ve heard the buzz phrase that’s changing the landscape of your chosen field: health information technology (HIT). If you haven’t yet looked into the myriad ways in which the future of healthcare and related careers is evolving because of HIT, then you owe it to yourself (and your future employability) to explore what this means for you. This is what you need to know:
Gone are the days of the bulky metal filing cabinets and alphabetically ordered files. The system of storing hardcopy medical records on site is quickly becoming a relic of the past, making way for a revolutionary medical records storage and transmission method, using electronic health records (EHR). As you might readily guess, EHRs are digital records–or, records stored in computer systems. Federal initiatives to improve the efficiency of medical records sharing between different healthcare agencies and entities have tripled the adoption of EHR usage since 2010, and this progression is slated to continue until the entire system, countrywide, has seen a makeover.
The most obvious positive effect of the implementation of HIT is the fact that patient medical records will be accessible to doctors, nurses, health insurance agencies, health related care providers, and patients within a matter of seconds, and with just a few strikes on a keyboard. This improves the efficiency of medical records sharing between healthcare providers and organizations, and empowers patients with greater ease of access to their records.
Just as with any other groundbreaking systematic change, the adoption of EHRs and digital records sharing networks comes with its associated risks. For one, healthcare workers will have to be well trained in the new records storage and sharing programs, as well as best legal practices when it comes to the confidentiality of patient records. This training will cost time and money for both established and new healthcare workers, and will require those entering the medical field for the first time to master a completely new skill set before obtaining employment. Additionally, there is always the risk of inaccurate or incomplete insertion of records into the system. If a healthcare provider makes a mistaken entry, that mistake will automatically be routed through the network and made available to every other entity that may be treating the patient.
It is clear that technology is changing the face of healthcare, and in some major ways; you can search for more jobs, for example. However, it remains to be seen how dramatically altered the healthcare industry will ultimately be due to the integration of health information technology practices. The only certainty is that technology isn’t going anywhere, so it’s our job to keep up.