If you’ve heard the buzz about electronic medical records and you’re wondering about career opportunities in this fast-emerging new field, come out to Santa Fe College’s 2nd Annual Health IT Roundtable. It’s scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, March 23 in Building S, room 29/30, at the Northwest campus. (The meeting room is officially named ‘Student Senate Chambers’ and is next to the campus bookstore.) The event is free and open to the public.
“We are going through a paradigm shift in how we do business in healthcare,” said Program Director Julie Shay. “It is imperative that employers have highly skilled employees who understand the importance of data collection and management. That includes data security and data privacy, and how that all affects the patient and the provider.”
By 2014, due to the Health Care Reform HITECH Act, our country will shift to electronic data exchange medical record keeping. The Department of Labor estimates a need for 50,000 workers for this field by 2018. In a recent article in U.S. News and World Report, HIT was listed in the top 10 careers. This profession has been described as a bridge between clinicians and IT geeks, and as a good path for someone interested in the medical field but who does not want direct patient contact. Currently, there are 54 accredited HIT baccalaureate programs. Santa Fe’s training is a vocational certificate and can be completed in just six months.
The roundtable’s goal is to connect HIT students and the public to recruiters from HIT companies. Each representative will speak for 15 minutes about their company’s employment opportunities, professional expectations and salaries. Expect to hear about industry standards, trends, certifications and more. (See the list of representatives at the end of this article.)
“We want to provide an opportunity for our students and the public to keep up with industry standards and employment opportunities in Health Information Technology,” said Tracy Jones, Advising Specialist. “That includes electronic health record vendors such as EPIC and NextGen, and also personal health records.”
HIT is used in any medical setting to improve health care quality and delivery. Personal health records allow consumers to be their own healthcare advocate. An additional advantage is universal remote access. If you were receiving emergency medical care out of state, medical personnel could access your records. With appropriate authorizations in place, health professionals could use it for research and public health surveillance, for example, to measure the number of lung cancer cases.
Students are encouraged to bring their professional résumés to the event. From noon-1:45 p.m., they may meet with the reps and get feedback on their résumés.
Jones said Santa Fe’s HIT program continues to work with students after graduation.
“We follow up with students three, six and nine months post graduation, to see how they’re doing,” said Jones. “We’re starting our last cohort through this six-month training program on June 4. The final application date is March 30.”
Santa Fe has also begun offering accelerated programs for graduates with an AS or BS in Health Information Technology and/or Management to include IT professionals. Several other accelerated programs will be offered.
When this grant-funded Health Information Technology Workforce Training Program comes to an end, 500+ students will have passed through the program. Beginning in the fall 2012 semester, the training will move over to the college’s for credit AS degree in Health Information Technology.
“I tell my students, ‘these are exciting times,'” said Shay. “It’s similar to when President Kennedy told our country we were going to the moon. We will exchange data electronically across all state borders, with this being the norm versus the exception. HIT will have a great impact on the quality of healthcare and help lower its cost.”
The following representatives will attend the Roundtable March 23: Becky Baker of HealthPort in Alpharetta, Ga.; Angela Strain of Community Health Centers Alliance of the Center for Advancement of Health IT; Kelly McLendon, President, Health Information Xperts, LLC (McLendon is a consultant specializing in privacy and security/EHR and HIM specialty fields) ; a representative from NextGen; Devin Soelberg of EPIC in Verona, Wisc.; and Lauren Whelan of Iron Mountain Records Management of Jacksonville.
For more information about the roundtable or Santa Fe’s HIT training, please call Tracy Jones, 352-381-3730 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.