Experts suggest that hospitals need more health information technology professionals

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Many hospitals and medical centers are seeking skilled information technology professionals who can help healthcare providers make the switch to electronic health records (EHRs) by 2014, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

As mandated by the federal government through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, healthcare providers are being pushed to use EHRs to improve patient care quality, safety and cost-effectiveness.

As part of this push, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has disbursed more than $36 million in grants to develop or improve these education programs throughout the country.

“This is a great opportunity for clinicians and computer specialists to add to their skill sets and move up,” Thomas Shlala, coordinator for the health information technology grant program at Atlanta Technical College, told the news source.

Officials added that a health information technology degree program can benefit nurses who may not be up for the physical demands of the job, but wish to remain in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, this course of study can offer who have worked with computers and information technology an opportunity to enter the healthcare field.