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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality
Improvement

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Will I Need to Hire IT Staff?

Whether or not you decide to hire new IT staff will depend upon the type of system you adopt.  If you decide to implement a vendor-based system, then you will likely receive technical support from the vendor.  Even with vendor assistance, you may still need to hire IT staff to support the new hardware and address other issues associated with the adoption of health IT in your office or clinic.  The Indian Health Service (IHS), which has its own EHR system based on the Veterans Administration’s (VA’s) open source system, VistA, recommends that its users at moderate to large sites hire at least a Clinical Application Coordinator (CAC).  The IHS describes the role of the CAC in more detail, explaining that such an individual can help the organization with:

  • Preliminary EHR setup
  • Coordination and optimization of all RPMS packages (RPMS is IHS’ information system)
  • Primary training of users before initial EHR implementation
  • Training for new users
  • Training for updates and new EHR features
  • Support and assistance for providers and other users during implementation
  • Real-time support for providers and other staff during patient care
  • Customization of Text Integration Utility (TIU) templates (IHS’ way of customizing input screens based on patient specific information)
  • Customization of provider order sets
  • Customization of Graphic User Interface (GUI) screen views
  • Responsibility for the ongoing roll-out of EHR in the facility

As an alternative to employing additional IT staff, you can consider training certain members of your existing clinical staff to become “super-users.”  Super-users, as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), are staff members who receive training for the implementation of a clinical information system, “who then serve as trainers, provide technical support, and champion the use of the system.”  These staff members can add significant value to your office.

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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