Electronic Medical Record Mandates to Increase Jobs in IT

With a $20 billion infusion from the Health Information Technology Act, the EMR market is expected to grow in major ways. Expect jobs to expand in systems integration, programming, project management and training.

Where are IT jobs going to be over the next two years? There are a number of expectations, including a whole lot more in Web application development, including social media, enterprise software and a host of mobile applications for Internet-enabled devices such as the iPhone and competitors.

Another area expected to have growth is in health care, specifically in electronic medical records (EMRs).

Speech recognition may speed electronic medical record adoption. Read more here.

With a large economic stimulus package behind it, the EMR market is expected to grow in major ways with a $20 billion infusion from the Health Information Technology Act. As detailed in an article at NWjobs.com (affiliated with the Seattle Times), the EMR market for job growth will run the spectrum from technical sales to training to programming. From the article:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment for medical records and health information technicians is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations, with an 18 percent increase through 2016. Within the field there are 125 job titles in more than 40 settings, says Gretchen Murphy, director of University of Washington programs in health information management.The companies that make and sell EMR software are a good starting point for employment. Jobs can run the gamut from sales to training to project management.EMR sales careers can range from entry-level telemarketers with base pay in the $30,000s to the six-figure field sales positions.Little travel is required for mid-level sales positions. "For smaller deals, a lot of that can be sold just over the Web, so we do a presentation over the Web using Live Meeting," says [Malcolm] Hooper [operations manager for Practice Partner]. "That's how we engage the doctors and the practices ... and show them our products. That's the principal way we sell to small practices [of] one to five doctors."

There will be some occupations in the EMR space needing a medical background, particularly in office work flow, the article said. Expect job growth in areas of system integration and middleware to handle the translation, as well as storage. From a Medical News post referencing the growth of technology in the market:

According to Frost & Sullivan estimates, the Health Information Technology (HIT) market (by revenue) in 2008, in APAC (Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Australia) was close to USD5.04 billion with an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8 percent from 2005-2008. Although the APACHIT market represents currently only 2.1 percent of the total healthcare market, it is very likely that the figure could double if not triple that in the next 10 years.

As with any newer technology that will collect information, there are serious data migration issues to consider, not to mention cost. From a CNN Money article on the subject:

Implementing an EHR system from paper to hospital-wide integration costs anywhere from $50 million to $100 million, say experts. That includes not just the hardware and software, but also the service contract, networking with a national data center and lost productivity as hospitals teach physicians how to use the new system.That's difficult for hospitals in the midst of a credit crunch and economic downturn, and especially onerous for small doctors' offices with just a handful of staff and patients. But there are other options.One such alternative is the government's open-source EHR system, called Vista, which is already used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. A commercialized version of the Vista software was developed by health care tech firm Medsphere, which said installation and service costs of the system average less than $1 million a year over the first five years, after which point annual service costs range between $150,000 to $700,000, depending on the size of the hospital."We have contracts with the entire public health system of West Virginia, in which eight hospitals will pay us a total of $9 million over five years," said Medsphere Chief Executive Mike Doyle. "Compare that to the University of West Virginia, which just paid $90 million to a proprietary EHR vendor. If Obama is serious about this, he won't be able to do it $90 million at a time."

But not every system will be able to connect to the open-source solution, suggests the CNN article. Regardless, the mandate within the Health Information Technology Act will help those vendors selling these products, and it means jobs for those having to use the new systems.