IT should be a good place for careers in the coming years, especially
between 2011 and 2015. That’s when the industry will start to see the
results of $20 billion in government funding allocated for
health information technology under President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.
One area in particular is worth looking into: Electronic Health
Records, also known as EHRs. Only 9 percent of U.S. hospitals currently
have EHRs, found a survey by the New England Journal of Medicine. The
survey, sent to hospitals in March 2008 and based on responses from
2,900 U.S. hospitals, found most institutions only have basic
electronic systems, such as for reporting patients’ lab results.
EHRs essentially replace a patient’s paper file and may be safer to
use, doing things like alerting doctors for drug interactions and the
like. Advocates say EHRs also reduce spending from unnecessary testing
and help doctors spot trends in their medical practice.
But others argue it won’t be an easy transition for the industry to
make, citing the "cost and complexity of installing the systems and
building data networks required to share information electronically
between doctors’ offices and hospitals."
Easy or not, EHRs aren’t going to happen without more technical folks to put them in place.
— Sonia Lelii