When people decide to start a career in healthcare, they usually start looking into how they can acquire the necessary medical knowledge and certifications necessary to do their job. What they probably don’t think is, “Well, time to brush up on my computer skills.” This is unfortunate because by doing so, they could be seriously handicapping their career prospects. With digital technology firmly integrated into most aspects of healthcare, from electronic medical record-keeping on rugged medical tablets to compounding medicines with the aid of medical panel PCs, a healthcare practitioner’s fluency with computers can be nearly as crucial to their job as their medical knowledge. 

It’s not only people who are just jumping into the field that need to make sure their digital literacy is up to snuff. In an ever-changing digital landscape, even experienced healthcare practitioners need to refresh their digital skill-sets constantly. But what skills do healthcare professionals need? While no single blog can encapsulate everything you need to know to attain true digital fluency, In this blog, we hope to cover some of the foundational skills healthcare professionals need to survive and thrive within the digital healthcare space.

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Keeping

In the last decade, a massive seachange in healthcare occurred. According to the American Hospital Association, between 2009 and 2015, the proportion of non-federal acute care hospitals utilizing EMR systems went from 12.5% to 83.8%. By 2017, that number had increased to 96%. Physicians in private practice also widely adopted EMR systems in that time, with 80% of them currently using certified EHR software, according to the US Government’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

With that in mind, it is essential for those looking to begin a career in healthcare to understand the basics of Electronic Medical Recordkeeping. You’ll need to know things such as: the layout of different EMR software, how to log information digitally, how to electronically sign documents, how to use a medical tablet’s built-in barcode and RFID scanners to access patient’s medical records, and a variety of other skills that will allow you to accurately and efficiently keep electronic records for your patients.

Medical Billing and Coding

Though often overlooked, not every job in healthcare is directly involved in patient care. Just as in every segment of the economy, there needs to be a group of people whose job it is to handle the administrative end of things. After all, nurses and doctors need to devote all of the energy and focus to providing the best care possible, they cannot also be expected to handle all of the paperwork and billing. With how complex the American healthcare system is, people who work in Healthcare Administration need to be intimately familiar with medical billing and coding.

Medical billing and coding essentially involve learning a new language. There are thousands of alphanumeric symbols that have been assigned to different diagnoses, treatments, tests, etc. that healthcare administrators need to learn and memorize. Due to the myriad of insurance companies and policies present within the American healthcare system, accuracy is of the utmost importance. Thankfully most medical coding software will help the user select the right codes for given procedures, but the more knowledgeable administrators are with the symbols, the more efficient and accurate their work can be. Inaccurate coding can be a massive headache both for the hospital and for patients, wasting the time and money of all involved parties.

Healthcare Scheduling Apps

In addition to coding and billing, people working in healthcare administration also handle scheduling for whatever practice, clinic, or hospital that employs them. The task of scheduling appointments for a single physician in private practice can be complicated enough, so it only makes sense that the challenge of scheduling appointments for larger clinics and hospitals can be daunting. A single mistake can snowball into a packed waiting room full of angry patients in no time. 

To schedule effectively, healthcare administrative staff not only needs to know the basic functionality and layout of whatever scheduling software their facility employs, but also the logistics of many procedures. It is often the case that procedures that take the same amount of time to perform vary widely in their complexity and staffing needs. Therefore, people working in healthcare administration need to know how to differentiate between them to not overtax their facility’s equipment, staff, and to avoid causing delays for patients. 

Basic Medical Computer Skills

Of course, all of these skills will need to rest on a foundation of basic computer skills that many people still do not have despite the massive widespread adoption of computer technology in the past 40 years. Unfortunately, one’s fluency with computers often depends on when and where you were born, as well as your parent’s economic situation. But that doesn’t mean they cannot be quickly acquired.

A lack of basic computer skills should not be an impediment to those who want to pursue a career in healthcare. Computer skills training, whether on the job or through professional training/certification programs, needs to be available to those who are interested in working in the healthcare industry. Thankfully more and more facilities and institutions are offering such training.

Final Thoughts

In the past 20 years, the digital revolution has completely taken over healthcare. Never in the history of healthcare has digital literacy been so important. If you’re interested in how medical computers and tablets can lower the digital learning curve at your medical facility, contact the experts at Cybernet today!