Experts Call for Adding Health IT Training to Educational Programs

TOPIC ALERT:

Physicians will need to master minimal competencies in health IT to help the health care system improve quality and reduce costs, according to an article published in the journal Health Affairs, CMIO reports.

About the Article

For the article, Pierce Graham-Jones -- project officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Beacon Community Program -- and colleagues analyzed current medical education programs and identified areas where additional training could help physicians become meaningful users of health IT.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Recommendations

The authors identified six opportunities for integrating health IT-related training into educational and professional development programs. They recommended:

  • Integrating health IT-related questions into medical licensing board exams;
  • Including health IT-related requirements in the accreditation criteria for medical schools and teaching hospitals;
  • Requiring health care providers to meet meaningful use requirements as a condition of licensure;
  • Allowing health IT-related training to count toward continuing medical education credits;
  • Incorporating health IT-related assessments into board certification exams; and
  • Using EHR systems to develop practice profiles and quality reports that could help customize continuing medical education programs.

The authors wrote, "Universal and standardized training will be critically important in establishing important health IT competencies." They added, "The diverse organizations that standardize and regulate the professional development of physicians should move forward to achieve this goal" (Byers, CMIO, 3/19).


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