The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Healthcare Act of 2009 (HITECH) has impacted the healthcare industry like nothing before. The introduction and utilization of a standardized form of electronic media to provide better, more efficient patient care and information sharing (Meaningful Use) has created job titles that, just a few years ago, were non-existent. At the same time, some traditional healthcare industry roles have vastly evolved under the HITECH umbrella. All of these pioneering positions are the result of the increasing demand for specialists to fulfill the needs of the meaningful use paradigm.
Meaningful Use Director
The meaningful use director is responsible for creating and managing the entire meaningful use strategy and ensuring the desired outcome.
In an article in the Journal of AHIMA, “The Role of Meaningful Use Director Emerges and Evolves,” Cone Health Greensboro North Carolina meaningful use director, Suzanne Goodell noted that “prior to joining Cone Health, there were numerous people in different departments –nursing, IT, physicians – working on meaningful use, but there was nobody dedicated to pulling it into one project.”
That, in effect, defines the role of the director in meaningful use implementation. As such, the director ensures compliance as each phase of the meaningful use attestation process is implemented, making certain that all federal rules and new mandates are being met. As Goodell stated, “a lot of the devil is in the details.”
Meaningful Use Specialist
The meaningful use specialist is a technology-driven position requiring skill, training and prior experience in either clinical or operational fields, along with a demonstrated proficiency with electronic medical records (EMR) technology.
Working in conjunction with various directors, this specialist is the troubleshooter for the technical aspects of meaningful use implementation and processes, from workflow issues to technical updates and fixes. If it requires a technical or operational solution, it is the job of the meaningful use specialist.
Meaningful Use Consultant
Typically working on a per diem basis, this important cog in the meaningful use implementation process travels to provider offices to collect and examine data, and develop a working plan for the client. Interacting professionally with clients, the meaningful use consultant also assists in pre and post payment audits, attending both virtual and in-person corporate meetings when necessary.
Meaningful Use Project Manager
This position requires knowledge of multiple software programs, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, as well as a demonstrated ability to work with cross functional teams, interpreting or researching CMS guidelines for clarification of the process. Reporting and developing processes as they relate to CMS compliance is paramount to this position.
The project manager role entails meeting with all team members and collaborating with physicians and managers to provide training and coaching to achieve all program goals. Publichealth.uga.edu, further defines the role of the meaningful use project manager as playing a vital financial role in the meaningful use process, ”the project level coordination of all activities related to the implementation of and on-going delivery of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR Incentive Payment Program for the organization.”
Information Technology Jobs in Meaningful Use
In the recession-resistant healthcare industry, there are several significant IT roles that can be lucrative and rewarding, deserving serious consideration:
- Clinical Applications Analyst
- Clinical Informatics Specialists
- ICD-10 Conversion Project Manager
- ICD-10 Testing Coordinators/Coders
- HL7 Interface Analyst/Developer
- Meaningful Use Business Analyst
- Clinical Applications Trainers
- Interoperability Managers
These positions help fulfill the need for IT talent with a working knowledge of the healthcare industry.
As the burgeoning health care system continues its amazing expansion and development, IT remains solidly at the forefront, embracing and implementing new technologies and government directives. This resultant expansion has created extraordinary opportunities with these new and challenging positions. When and if the growth of the healthcare industry slows is still an unknown, but IT will undoubtedly remain an integral part in the evolution of the healthcare process.