Have a headache? Call the doctor. A stomach ache? Call the doctor. A sore throat? Call the doctor. But… your doctor may not be in the office on the day you call. He may be at Walmart buying an electronic health records (EHR) system to digitize your medical records. He may just be in Aisle 7, contemplating the purchase of the $25,000 full implementation of an eClinicalWorksEHR system to be sold through Sam’s Club specifically designed for a clinician in a medical office. Having an electronic health system in your own doctor’s office lessens the likelihood of you being treated with medicine for a stomach ache when you came in for a sore throat. When used properly, most health experts contend that digital records vastly improve patient care. The days of pulling a patient’s file at a doctor’s office or having a patient retrieve and bring in medical records from a specialist will be over. Doctors will be able to enter a patient’s info onto a computer, but it is far more likely that medical assistant and billing and coding staff will be digitalizing the info based on the doctor’s written notes. The doctor and the staff will be able to gain instant access to all the medical records at the touch of a button. Walmart began implementing the EHR technology that it will soon offer to physicians, in 2006, at its own thirty clinics in eight states, staffed by third-party doctors and nurses. Dell will be responsible for the computer and software installation. Training and maintenance for its electronic health records system will be handled by eClinicalWorks. It will be available for sale before summer 2009. Walmart’s decision to march boldly into the market for electronic health records, bringing the technology mainstream to where most of America’s doctors practice – in small offices – comes at the time when it can clearly capitalize on the incentive plan for providers, a federal program that provides payments to doctors and hospitals that are “meaningfully using” health information technology in practice in 2012 and beyond. The health care industry is positioned to continue to be one of the safest places in terms of job security. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care industry will account for the most new jobs, almost three million of them, by the year 2016. This is due to an aging baby boomer population, population growth and advances in medical technologies. As Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, #2 on the Fortune 500 list, positions itself at the center of the electronic medical record keeping market, demand for trained professionals with skills in 21st Century medical record keeping will explode. Allen School Online Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Program graduates stand ready to hit the ground running from Day One in these prestigious career positions!
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