Electronic health records were the skill most in demand among health care industry jobs, according to a survey by Wanted Technologies.
Founded in 1999, the company produces software that measures jobs and skills in demand across the United States.
Wanted Technologies announced the results of its survey on Sept. 19.
The company's Wanted Analytics software analyzes real-time business intelligence for the employment marketplace. The software incorporates data on hiring demands and available talent over many years.
For August, more than 15,000 positions advertised online mentioned a need for EHR experience, Wanted Technologies reported.
"New hires will need to be proficient in the use of [EHR] technologies," Bruce Murray, president and CEO of Wanted Technologies," told eWEEK in an email.
Job postings requiring EHR skills increased 31 percent, compared with August 2011 and 88 percent since August 2010, according to Wanted Technologies.
The most-searched jobs that require EHR skills included registered nurse, nurse practitioner, family practice physician, physician internal medicine, physician assistant, hospitalist, medical billing coding, nurse II inpatient nursing, physician and family medicine physician.
The federal government's meaningful-use incentives for EHR adoption under the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act are driving demand for EHR skills, according to Murray.
"We see these skills mentioned more often now than ever before because the HITECH Act is expecting medical providers to comply with its guidelines," said Murray. "In this case, the market can expect more enforcement of the guidelines and it appears that employers are getting the message."
Areas that listed the most jobs requiring EHR skills included Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Phoenix and Boston.
Minneapolis had the highest number of job ads for EHRs. UnitedHealthcare and Mayo Clinic are located in that city.
The current year showed the highest year-over-year growth for the EHR skill set, jumping to more than 245 percent in August 2012, compared with August 2011.
Meanwhile, Phoenix showed the second-highest growth in the U.S. for jobs requiring EHR knowledge, increasing 127 percent from 2011.
Although EHR skills are in demand, a limited talent pool exists for workers that have experience with digital medical records, according to Wanted Technologies.
Areas having the easiest time recruiting EHR skills were Rochester, N.Y., and Chicago. Fairbanks, Alaska, had the most difficulty filling jobs with EHR requirements.
Nashville, Tenn., is one area with plenty of health care IT jobs, according to the Nashville Technology Council. Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a major hospital network, is located in Nashville.
With the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, being upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, a possible surge in health care use could lead to a demand for health care IT professionals that can handle data systems.
After electronic health records, quality assurance and practice management were skills in demand, according to Wanted Technologies. Practice management applications from companies such as ClearPractice are accessible in the cloud and allow providers to schedule appointments, compile claims, manage billing and prescribe medication.
Health care IT jobs have been cited as a top job category for college graduates, according to the University of California San Diego Extension.