Building on its mission to focus on the employees using health information technology, the American Medical Informatics Association has developed core competencies that indicate what the health workforce should know when it uses electronic health records.
Working with the American Health Information Management Association, AMIA released a report outlining an EHR core competencies matrix tool, a broad foundation of technical and IT skills employees should understand before they have to use electronic records. The goal is to generate basic principles that apply across the range of health professions and encourage the industry to think about EHR functions from the employee's perspective, said Meryl Bloomrosen, AMIA's vice president for policy. This is not an IT issue. Its the workers who are using the IT once its deployed.
The industry is moving toward electronic records but there are few resources that help healthcare workers or employers learn how to use them, Bloomrosen said. We thought this would be particularly innovative.
The task force established to create the core competencies studied how workers would use an EHR and what would be required for anyone involved with electronic records, Bloomrosen said. In addition, the task force addressed the roles and functions of employees who use EHRs. Anyone from social workers to physical therapists might have to enter data into an electronic record or analyze information from it, she said.
The core competencies tool includes five domains: health information literacy, informatics skills, privacy and confidentiality, data technical security and basic computer literacy skills. The joint AMIA-AHIMA report breaks down knowledge and skill sets within each of the domains. The tool is available free of charge.
Eventually the AMIA hopes the tool will offer even more to employees, Bloomrosen said. The association is continuing to refine the tool and plans to drill even further into specific skills for the various settings of care, such as clinics and inpatient settings, and more detailed functions for different employees who use electronic records.
The two associations plan to host a national consensus conference next year to push a policy targeting health information management and IT workforce needs, including assessing the IT work force and barriers to building it and exploring funding opportunities to continue to train employees.
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