2011 was a challenging year for healthcare IT professionals. Providers rolled out electronic health record systems to qualify for the government's Meaningful Use financial incentives. Meanwhile, mobile health apps took off, e-prescribing increased, health info exchanges got a start, and some organizations suffered data breaches. On the plus side, more health IT jobs became available.
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The Supreme Court in 2012 is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care legislation signed into law by President Obama in 2009. In 2011, healthcare providers continued to prepare for the changes that the reform brings, including new payment models for Medicare. The emergence of accountable care organizations spurred healthcare professionals to seek out technology initiatives--including data exchange efforts--that could help them better coordinate treatments, early intervention, and wellness programs among the various doctors, hospitals, clinics, and others involved with patient care.
In November, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took a step forward in helping states set up health insurance exchanges that let consumers shop for healthcare coverage plans. The HHS awarded 13 states nearly $220 million in Affordable Insurance Exchange grants that will help them pay for the resources, including IT and data analysis, needed to create and deploy the exchanges.