Thursday, August 30, 2007

Health Care Training Diversifies to Accommodate Changes in Policy

It wasn̢۪t all that long ago that health care training opportunities fell into one of three basic categories: nursing, administrative or medical school. Over the last several decades, training opportunities were developed around new technologies, such as radiology, magnetic resonance and computed tomography. Newly accepted forms of treatment influenced health care academics as well. From chiropracty to physical and behavioral therapy, the need for a specialized workforce was forged out of advances to modern medical care.

Today, it is policy which has greatly influenced the face of health care education at the administrative level. The insurance industry has had a profound effect on the number of specialized employees at most large health care facilities, from hospitals to senior care centers. The emergence of HMO and PPO health benefits has created the need for a standardized system of documentation universal to all insurance providers. The development of medical billing and coding degree and certification programs is a direct result. Where at one time administrators were responsible for the paperwork and data entry of patient records, the sheer volume of documentation required today makes that an impossibility. Not only are medical coding specialists a luxury for administrative health care facility staffs, but indeed a necessity. Just as all hospitals have employees devoted to their IT infrastructure, data availability and data security, each also requires specialists who understand the often complex nature of insurance reimbursement.

Even at the highest levels of administration, changes can be seen. The business aspects of health care have become exceedingly industry specific and require intimate knowledge of the field. As a result, there are many business administration degree programs with concentrations in health care administration or management offered by universities across the nation. Graduates have the benefit of being acclimated to the particular facets of the health care industry that set it apart from all others in relation to business and commerce.

As health care industry positions become more specialized, be it through technology, new methods of treatment or policy, one thing is certain. Academia is quick to find and fill the needs of employers in every industry.

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