Vol State Taps Job Growth in Medical Records Technology

Medical InformaticsYou may have noticed that your medical records are going high tech. Your doctor can now pull up an x-ray from last week or even five years ago on an iPad while chatting with you in the office. That revolution is due, in part, to a federal mandate, called the HITECH Act. It requires medical practices and hospitals to move to electronic medical records. That is causing a demand for people who can manage health technology systems. Volunteer State Community College has had a successful Health Information Technology program for several years. Now, the school is meeting the need for developers and technicians to support those computer systems. The first set of Medical Informatics students at the college are getting ready to graduate and they should have plenty of jobs to choose from. New research in the journal “Industrial Relations” shows an 86 percent increase in job postings with the terms “informatics” or “electronic health records” in the job description.

“I have friends in the IT (information technology) field that assure me that there will be plenty of job opportunities,” said Medical Informatics student Jeff Crutcher of Hendersonville. Crutcher is set to graduate from the program in May. He says layoffs in manufacturing and a downturn in the economy caused him to look for a new career path.

“I wanted to get into something in medicine,” he said. “I really thought that Medical Informatics would be a good fit. I realized that I was going to have to go to school and get new skills.”

“Someone who likes technology and has good organizational skills would be good at Medical Informatics,” said Valerie Bowling, director of Health Information Technology at Vol State. “It also helps if they would like to work in a health care setting, such as a hospital or a doctor’s office.”

The Vol State Medical Informatics Associate of Applied Science degree program is designed to provide students with the training they need to quickly get into the health care workplace. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow by 18 percent in coming years. Vol State students choose between a developer and technician path in the program. Possible job titles for graduates include implementation support specialist, implementation manager, technical and software support staff member and trainer. Generally these positions fall into three job fields: IT professional, health information management professional and clinical informatician.

Students can start on a Medical Informatics degree in the upcoming spring semester at Vol State. Classes begin January 16. Students can apply now. For more information contact Kellie Jones at Kellie.jones@volstate.edu or by phone at 615-230-3543. The web site address is www.volstate.edu/MedicalInformatics