Tulsa Community College Teaching Switchover To Electronic Medical Records

Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 9:34 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- There's a growing need for workers who can digitize medical records and Tulsa Community College is helping fill some of that need.

There's a shortage of skilled people now and it's only expected to get worse as physicians rush to go electronic over the next few years.

All of the people in the classroom have a background in medical records, or information technology and they're learning how to bridge the divide between the two.

Dean Hudson works for Regional Medical Lab and wants to stay on top of the changeover to electronic health records.

"By taking this class it not only keeps me in touch with what's going on with the health information exchange, it also helps me professionally," he said.

The class is part of the Health Information Technology program at Tulsa Community College. It's a six-month program for people who will carry over the digital changeover for doctors.

While many physicians still use paper records, almost all are using some electronic records, and the government is pushing a total switchover by 2015.

1/26/2011 Related Story: Cherokee Nation To Expand Use Of Electronic Health Records

"We think there's a real good opportunity for employment in this area," Sandy Smith, Director of Health Information Technology, said.

Smith is the director of the program at TCC. She said there are 50,000 new jobs being created by the switch, and because of the urgency, the government subsidizes the tuition.

"If you succeed and pass everything, it's basically free," she said.

The course is only for people with a background in medicine or computers, like Hudson, but it can also be an add on certificate to a degree in one field or the other.

Hudson said he's seen the need for more help in the field and the benefits of what's available to physicians.

"They can share that information, especially on referrals, they can see why they have lab results x-rays, prescriptions, medications, it's a great, great avenue," he said.