Health IT Sector May Face Workforce ShortageFierceHealthIT: A top federal health IT official said there is a workforce shortage in the sector that could hinder the widespread adoption of electronic medical records, but federal aide is on the way, for that, too. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, said federal training programs would meet 85 percent of the demand, which he estimated as a shortage of about 50,000 workers. "He notes that the University of Texas at Austin, a beneficiary of some of the government funding, recently graduated its first class of health information management and exchange specialists, and that the school will add three more health IT certificate programs next year" (10/18).
Other estimates are higher. North Carolina research triangle area news website MyNC.com reports a local health IT instructor says "[b]y 2013, there will be a 64,000 person shortage of qualified, trained medical records clerks." According to the website, "Those interested in returning to school to become medical records clerks need not only complete a medical records course of study, but also a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) course. In fact, HIPAA training is now a prerequisite for consideration for many jobs in a medical office. 'Workers need to know that breaches of confidentiality of any kind will result in job loss,'" the instructor said (Baldwin-Garcia, 10/18). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.