Health Care IT Heats Up: Major Tech Firms Take It Up a Notch

The push to provide patients online access to their medical records intensified last week, when Google, Dell, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft announced new or pending deals at the Health Information and Management Systems Society trade show in Atlanta. Greater involvement by these players will add velocity to the process of automating medical records and health information, according to David Needle, writing for InternetNews.com/Datamation. And there are more signs hiring in the area may soon be heating up.  

A general search on Dice using the keywords health information yielded more than 3,000 openings when I ran it. That could be the tip of the iceberg, since the massive task of automating patient medical records, lab results and prescription histories has just begun.

Worker shortages are already impacting progress according to a BNET blog post by Ken Terry. He reports that physicians in small medical practices are resisting the mandate to automate, because they lack sufficient computer skills to make the transition, and hardware and software vendors don’t have enough staff to service new orders.

Dell Perot Systems Healthcare Services is working with hospitals to accelerate the rollout of digital record systems to their affiliated physicians. But only about 100 practices have implemented them because the organization’s IT staff has been unable to keep up with the demand, says a Dell executive quoted in Terry’s post.

Terry goes on to say the federal government will provide assistance to small, geographically-dispersed physicians by setting up health IT regional extension centers, or HITRECs. but that effort’s being hampered by a shortage of specialized technicians.

Are you hearing about openings in health care IT? Do you plan to transition into the field? Share your experiences by posting a comment below.

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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