• HS - Electronic Records

    Making Education and Career Choices to Fit a Changing Health Care Landscape

    By Regina Kraus

    The health care industry is experiencing widespread change as our nation moves toward broad adoption of the electronic health record (EHR) as the norm for medical recordkeeping. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, incentive programs for transferring information to EHRs have been put in place and a sort of evolution has begun for health care providers and health care entities. The implementation of the EHR is revolutionizing how medical records are documented, stored, and accessed. This technology offers great promise in terms of patient care, diagnostics, outcomes, efficiency, and cost savings.

    As the government incentive programs enter various stages of completion, health care education is being impacted as well, with new skills and career paths emerging that will better serve patients and offer improved provider efficiency. The term "meaningful use" is now commonly utilized in most health care facilities, as acceptable EHR management must demonstrate positive impact on patient care. "Education of all persons in health care is dramatically changing due to technological advancements and the introduction of the EHR," said Regina Kraus, full-time faculty member for the School of Health Sciences, Kaplan University. "A student has new options today in terms of career choice, and skill preparation for specific career paths can be quite targeted."*

    At Kaplan University, nursing programs and medical assistance programs are already incorporating new information into the curriculum to prepare our future health care professionals to best utilize technology and understand the capabilities of the new EHR system. In addition, Kraus mentions the following career paths as possibilities for students who want to meld an interest in technology with the growing field of health care: 

    • Careers in coding and billing
    • Health information technology and health information management
    • Data management
    • Data mining
    • Analytics
    • Positions dealing with general EHR guidance and maintenance for privacy and security purposes
    • Kaplan University offers a progressive option for students interested in health information, starting with the Medical Billing and Coding Certificate and ending with a master's degree in health information management or health informatics

    Organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offer an abundance of information and resources in helping to choose a career in health information. "Today's competitive health care market demands a much wider range of skills than in the past," said Kraus. To determine marketability, students may wish to assess their own level of competency in the following areas:

    • Computer efficiency
    • Information system infrastructure
    • EHR workflow development and analysis
    • Data analytics
    • Communication and interpersonal skills
    • Teamwork capabilities
    • Time management skills
    • Leadership

    "In addition, knowledge of EHR guidelines and HIPAA privacy and security laws will be invaluable," said Kraus. Organizations and government entities such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and HealthIT.gov are great resources to learn more about the rules and regulations pertaining to the implementation of the EHR and ongoing technology developments.  

    Regina Kraus has been part of Kaplan University’s faculty since 2010 for the Health Information and Billing and Coding programs. Ms. Kraus has over 26 years of experience and work history in health information technology, quality improvement, risk management, and health care billing and revenue along with accreditation and licensure survey preparations for both acute care hospital and behavioral health organizations.

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