Manhattan community college to offer EHR program

By Patty Enrado
08:58 AM

The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) will offer two courses on electronic health record use and implementation beginning in September.

The new courses were collaboratively designed by Network Infrastructure Technologies (NIT) and Manhattan Education Opportunity Center (MEOC) to address the many needs of physicians implementing EHRs, said Lior Blik, CEO of NIT.

The incentives to adopt health IT within the HITECH Act of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are expected to drive up the number of physicians implementing EHRs.

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The incentive deadlines are forcing physicians to get the systems in place quickly, with little regard to the enormous changes, resources and knowledge that will be required in the physician office, Blik said. "Everything is changing," he said. "There needs to be some sort of basic education program for facilities, clinics, doctors and hospitals. There's a lot of need for EMR knowledge. Only five percent of hospitals had an EMR before 2009, but now we're seeing a real wave."

The certified program comprises 20 three-hour meetings. One course focuses on IT and project management, while the other course trains physicians and nurses. Students will have access to a lab in which EHR software is implemented in a real-world setting and learn how to use CPOE and other clinical decision support tools.

Students receive financial credit toward a software purchase for their healthcare organization. NIT has approached large health IT vendors, who were very receptive to the concept of accepting the credits. Blik pointed out that software companies make their money on upgrades and maintenance and not on the implementation itself, which is often lengthy and expensive, involving outside consultants.

For a 200- to 300-bed community hospital, the cost of implementation can run anywhere between $2 million to $4 million and last between one to two years, he said. Larger vendors can charge between $8 million and $10 million. By training the healthcare organization to choose the correct EHR or EMR for their needs and manage the implementation, both vendor and facility win, he said.

Another City University of New York (CUNY) is interested in offering a similar course and has applied for a grant to formalize it into a program, and approximately 20 other CUNYs have expressed interest, Blik said. He credited BMCC for their receptivity to the concept and for working with NIT to create the program. "They see this market coming. They have the entrepreneurial spirit and are on the right track," he said.


Photo by aturkus obtained under Creative Commons license.

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