As the nation focuses on improving quality of care and reducing costs in the delivery healthcare, health information technology has received increased attention. On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009; one section of ARRA is called the “Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act” or the “HITECH Act”. The HITECH Act provides various means of advancing the use of health information technology that allows the suitable exchange and use of health information, thereby establishing a foundation for improving care for each individual in the United States . This increasing reliance on IT in health care raises demand for trained health informatics workers. These “health informaticians” employ not only the use of computers but also the integration of clinical practice guidelines, medical terminologies, and management information and communication systems to support clinical decision-making and the management/business side of healthcare delivery.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) stresses that “…a workforce capable of innovating, implementing, and using health communications and information technology (IT) will be critical to healthcare’s success.” However, as noted by the AHIMA, the supply of trained health informatics professionals is not keeping pace with the industry’s demand. Without an adequate number of health informatics professionals in the field, the AHIMA cautions that the “goal of an improved, interconnected healthcare system may never be met, and the industry may lose much ground in terms of quality safety, and efficiency as it moves toward an electronic future.”
Read : “Health Informatics: Critical to Healthcare’s Success” an article by Nancy Borkowski