Universities respond to need for HIT help

By Bernie Monegain
01:31 PM

Citing the high and growing demand for well prepared healthcare IT professionals, universities are offering new programs to help educate and train the workers to fill the jobs. Among them are schools in Rochester, N.Y. and in Fort Wayne, Ind.

RIT partners with University of Rochester

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. are partnering to offer a joint master's degree in medical informatics. It is the first time the universities have collaborated to offer a joint degree program.

RIT is among the nation's top 15 largest private universities, is a top 100 school, and is nationally renowned for its computing degree programs. University of Rochester is one of the country's top-tier research universities known for its excellence in medical education.

"Now is the perfect time for this partnership," says David Krusch, MD, a practicing surgeon, director of the Division of Medical Informatics and CMIO at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the program. "In the history of modern healthcare there has never been a greater need for health and information technology professionals, and this program aims at providing excellent training for just those people."

The American Medical Informatics Association projects a need for more than 50,000 new health IT workers in the next five to seven years.

Employment opportunities for medical informaticians will be found in a variety of settings, RIT officials say, including hospitals and other healthcare institutions; private healthcare practices; medical software companies; pharmaceutical companies, medical device and medical technology companies; public health organizations; government and non-government agencies; insurance; and research laboratories.

RIT's job placement rate institute-wide is 95 percent.

Students matriculate at either RIT's B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences or the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and will take courses at both campuses to maximize their learning and the expertise that each institution provides. Students will graduate from the institution at which they matriculated but will receive a common diploma bearing the seals of RIT and the University of Rochester.

Applications are currently being accepted for fall 2012 consideration. Scholarships are available. More information is available at http://grad.rit.edu/campus/Masters-Degree/Medical-Informatics.

Indiana Tech to offer HIT courses online

Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Ind. has developed a new health information technology program. The online associate degree begins in July 2012. Students who complete the program will have the specific skills required to support and use information-related technologies in the delivery of healthcare, officials said.

“The shift to electronic patient records has created a tremendous need for workers who are trained to deal with the unique technology needs of the healthcare industry,” said Steve Herendeen, vice president of the College of Professional Studies. “This degree fills that need and is ideal for current employees who need to be retrained as well as people interested in entering the healthcare field.”

Although the new degree program does include two courses on the new ICD-10 coding system, it goes far beyond outdated paper coding training programs to prepare graduates for a long-term career path, Herendeen said. The skills covered in the HIT associate degree include: infrastructure implementation; integration of HIT into clinical workflow; meaningful use of HIT; application development and use; data-mining and analytics; report writing and compliance; and system analysis and evolution

The HIT program will be offered online through Indiana Tech’s College of Professional Studies. Each course lasts five weeks, and students can access the course materials anytime and anywhere with broadband Internet access. Although the HIT courses will not be offered until July, students can enroll now and begin taking other required classes such as English and math courses.

For more information, or to contact an admissions representative, visit http://www.indianatech.edu/ProspectiveStudents/CPS/Pages/default.aspx