Electronic health record courses become more popular throughout the U.S.The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandates that all healthcare facilities convert medical records from paper to an electronic databases by 2014. In an effort to help hospitals and other medical offices with this transition, more schools are offering programs in medical record keeping to help fill positions in this high-demand profession.

For example, Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) recently announced the launch of a new certificate program in medical record keeping, reports The Messenger-Gazette.

The goal of this initiative is to graduate 7,500 health information technology professionals in a 12-state region over the next two years. The certificate of completion will provide training for five career paths, including practitioner consultant, implementation manager, technical support staff, information management redesign specialist and trainer.

Experts told the news source that approximately 51,000 additional workers are needed to implement, support and train healthcare providers in the use of electronic health records. The program seeks to train individuals who can help medical practices, hospitals, health centers, long-term care facilities and state public health agencies make this transition.

Federal grant helps Ohio-based school educate more medical record keepers

Columbus State Community College was also on the receiving end of an HHS grant that will help it train more students over the next two years, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

The $800,000 HHS grant will allow the school to train 300 students in electronic medical record keeping. College officials told the news source that enrollees will be required to take a total of eight online classes over a span of two quarters. Furthermore, the grant allows the school to provide these enrollees with full scholarships.

Individuals who complete these courses will earn a certificate in one of five areas of study, which they will be able to apply to an associate’s degree program in health information management technology if they choose to continue their education.

Currently, 21 students are enrolled in these online classes.Officials added that they hope to attract another 54 students in the winter session and 75 more for the spring semester.

Graduates of this program can launch careers as medical records technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of job opportunities in this field is expected to grow by 20 percent over the next eight years.

Kentucky school offers new health information courses

Larger schools, like Morehead University, are also providing students with health systems courses to help more students launch medical record keeping careers. The institution is currently offering a health systems management degree program that is designed for individuals who are interested in making a difference in the healthcare field, according to the school’s website.

“We believe that these new programs address a growing need among healthcare professionals to gain more know-how with the business of healthcare,” said Robert Albert, dean of the college, quoted on the site.

College officials added that the program includes topics in health information technology, healthcare management, finance, economics and ethics. The school offers the curriculum in an online or on-campus format on a full- or part-time basis.

“We are fortunate in East Kentucky to have a core of progressive healthcare leaders committed to meaningful change. The current focus on transitioning to electronic health information provides a unique opportunity to influence healthcare in rural Appalachia, which statistically has some of the poorest healthcare outcomes in the country,” Elizabeth Regan, Smith Endowed Chair in Health Systems Management and chair of the board of directors of the Northeast Kentucky Regional Health Information Organization, said on the website.

They added that transitioning to electronic health information and transforming clinical practice can increase access to medical care facilities, reduce costs and improve the quality of care. 

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