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You may have noticed that tech in healthcare is changing rapidly, but did you know that it's saving lives too? In honor of National Health IT Week (September 15-19, 2014), here's a look at how information technology is changing the way we care for others.

Healthcare IT nurseAs computer and technology use in hospitals, clinics and private practice expands, information technology is being used in countless ways to improve healthcare delivery, patient safety, and the relationship between patients and healthcare providers.

The most noteworthy use of IT is in patient records and data management. Healthcare professionals used to be tied to clunky paper charts that were easily lost, damaged or misinterpreted. Now, providers can track patient records securely and easily, appending pharmacy records, test results, X-rays and even vital signs to a virtual chart that's easier to read and share and that can also be checked against other databases.

Patient records aren't the only use of information technology in healthcare. In fact, an entire discipline called nursing informatics has sprung up at the intersection of IT and clinical care. This interdisciplinary study links together the practice of nursing with the management of IT. It's where science meets data, and the field is growing ever more popular with increased demand in technology and a workforce that wants to combine their passions for science and data in service of medical patients and improving healthcare for all.

Fields like nursing informatics are even saving lives. In fact, a recent survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that nurses who use IT are more likely to spot medical errors, and with less time spent documenting patient care, nurses can spend more time caring for patients. As more people become insured and seek quality care, the demand for information technology that can accurately track patients and improve health care is only expected to grow.

Expect more jobs for IT professionals in hospital settings as the field expands. From medical coding specialists, records technicians and transcriptionists to healthcare information engineers, support specialists, clinical IT consultants and healthcare systems analysts, healthcare IT roles are growing every year. Healthcare IT will doubtless emerge on the top of lists boasting in-demand jobs as healthcare continues to evolve and change. Additionally, information technology will stay relevant for policymakers and hospital administrators looking to increase the speed, volume and quality of service in their care centers.

You might even want to consider checking out the field for yourself. Start by checking out our programs in the areas of information technology and healthcare. The College of Nursing and Public Health also includes a Master of Science in Nursing program with a specialization in Nurse Informatics. If you’re interested, request more information about these programs today!