Move to Electronic Medical Records Will Create Jobs, But Could Cause Problems, Too

Lora Bentley

Earlier this week, President-elect Barack Obama said his administration will work to "computerize" all U.S. medical records within five years. We've known this was coming for a while. Four years ago, President Bush said most U.S. medical records would be electronic by 2014, and Microsoft's senior director of worldwide health, Dr. Bill Crounse, says we have made progress in that direction.


But the Obama-led government will push harder and make even bigger investments in electronic health record initiatives -- and not only because it would simplify and streamline records management and information sharing between doctors' offices, hospitals, insurance companies and the like. From everything I've read so far, the emphasis at this point is on the plethora of jobs such an undertaking will create, as well as the cuts in spending that will result.


However, observers also acknowledge the process won't be without obstacles. It will be expensive, and as Danville, Ky.'s Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center knows first hand, it will take time. Moreover, a National Academies of Science report reveals that many of the current efforts under way regionally may even "set back the cause" of modernizing health care.


Ars Technica's John Timmer says it best, "Simply deciding to digitize medical records may help in some regards, but it's not going to modernize medical care unless the process is handled with medicine, rather than business interest, in mind."

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Jan 13, 2009 1:06 AM Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson  says:
A nationwide electronic health record initiative may very well create more jobs, and people seem to agree that the old paper-based system should be replaced by an electronic system that can get our doctors, nurses, therapists, and others working collaboratively. The caveat? If these EHR initiatives layer technology on the current, broken healthcare system, the fundamental benefits will be wasted. Only with an interoperable, portable system that reaches all healthcare players will the new EHR deliver needed healthcare change. More possibilities: Reply
Jan 14, 2009 3:58 AM nSynergy nSynergy  says:
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Jan 14, 2009 11:39 AM Electronic Wholesale Electronic Wholesale  says:
Very Nice article, digg it! Reply
Jan 17, 2009 11:52 AM alex alex  says:
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Jan 22, 2009 6:35 AM Harri Harri  says:
Another problem not mentioned here is that there will be indian cheating outsourcing companies flying around like flies, to get this into their pockets. I just hope there is no outsourcing so work can be really kept in America by Americans, not by some cheap low-quality fraud profile indian companies. Reply
May 3, 2009 12:19 PM Tracie Tracie  says: in response to Harri

Missing a bigger issue here.  E-medical records is costly, we are losing 40% of medical students who would normally go into family medicine to a specialty due to medical school costs, malpractice costs and costs to open a practice.  If e-medical records becomes mandatory, we'll continue to see a decline in physicians.  Then, how will e-medical records help our society when we don't have as many family practice physicians? Big IT business, government and insurance companies are driving this..but in the available good preventative improvements to healthcare.  Who cares if the records are e-medical..just taking money way from the physicians who deserve their profit like everyone else.  By the way, I'm not a physician, my brother is one.

May 27, 2009 10:34 AM Cyndi Cyndi  says:

What I would like to know is if EMR's are suppose to make jobs, how does one get a position training for EMR companies, since all ads require 2-5 years experience.  Where do you go to get certified in EMR training? 

Jul 13, 2009 5:32 AM Evelyn Evelyn  says:

I too would like to know the job opportunities for someone with several years' experience in medical transcription.  As I understand it, the doctors' offices that feel they can afford it, will be hiring scribes; many will not, leaving thousands of transcriptionists without jobs.  Will there be other opportunities available for those transcriptionists that either are not hired as scribes or wish to look into other job opportunities related to EMR's?

Jun 29, 2010 6:12 AM Micki Micki  says: in response to Evelyn

I was wondering how the job search turned out. Im currently taking courses to become a transcriptionist and am worried that by the time I get done, I wont be able to get a job. Any thoughts???

Aug 10, 2011 10:05 AM JP JP  says:

I am a IT GUY wanting to get into this area of specialty again i was in this field but got laid off, i would love to know how to get my name out there for IT Support in this industry.  Its a big deal and lots of money will be spent for server data storage, personal to support these hardware. 


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