The Implications of Health Informatics On Long-Term Care

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Why A Master’s Degree in Health Informatics & Health Information

In February 2009, Congressed passed the “Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act”. This Act enhanced many aspects of HIPPA, as well as setting forth structure, compliance and enforcement measurements for technology in the healthcare arena. The challenge that many healthcare organizations, including long-term care facilities face, is the lack of specialized healthcare focused IT professionals. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the next several years, the U.S. will have a shortage of nearly 50,000 qualified Health Informatics professionals.

Customized EHR Systems For Long-Term Care

Like hospitals, surgical centers, clinics, and private practices, long-term care facilities are required to develop EHR systems. In addition to patient records, Health Informatics professionals can help these facilities to increase patient comfort, care and safety through the implementation of specifically tailored technology programs. In addition, health informatics programs help to streamline by creating a more strategic than reactionary care environment. From an administrative side, customized systems developed by health informatics professionals help to maximize reimbursements and maintain high occupancy rates supporting strategic decision making.

Growing Need For Long-Term Care Facilities

By 2030 it is estimated that the U.S. will have over 72 million people 65 years or older, more than double of today. As the population of baby boomers continues to age, the need for additional long-term care facilities and long-term care solutions will continue to grow. The increase of serious chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s as well as longer life spans will require more long-term care facilities that are prepared to handle the aging population. Customized IT tools help to track trends and put data management and analysis into the hands of decision makers are an essential part of long-term care strategies.

Why Health Informatics Is A Specialized Discipline

IT professionals, while masters of technology, do not have the in-depth understanding of the special needs of healthcare organizations as it relates to healthcare needs. On the other hand, healthcare professionals do not typically have a mastery of the technology necessary to develop and implement programs, but they do have the comprehensive understanding of the challenges in a medical environment. Health informatics professionals have both. Through a multi-disciplinary and targeted approach to technology as it applies to healthcare, the best of both disciplines merge.

Earning A Health Informatics Degree

Professionals in either IT or the healthcare industry can earn a Master of Health Informatics degree online through an accredited program. As more of our population ages past 65, more health informatics professionals will be needed to craft and implement customized programs for hospitals, clinics, individual practices, and long-term care facilities that support a healthy aging population. A Health Informatics degree allows professionals to enter the expanding healthcare industry.