Nearly 2,300 Health IT Trainees to Hit Market This Month
This month the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT expects 2,280 health IT professionals to graduate from the Community College Consortia to Educate Health IT Professionals program, with 3,000 more graduates expected by the end of summer. The graduates are part of a broader ONC workforce development program that includes university-based training, health IT competency exams, and the development of a health IT curriculum for use in institutions of higher education.
The training provides graduates with the knowledge to work with providers and hospitals to adopt and achieve meaningful use of electronic health records. The new professionals will also be trained to work with EHR vendors to implement EHR systems in provider and hospital settings.
According to ONC many graduates are mid-career professionals with prior backgrounds in healthcare or information technology.
“Training the professionals to support the growing health IT industry is a critical step toward ensuring that health care providers large and small are successful in their adoption and meaningful use of health IT,” said Farzad Mostashari, newly appointed national coordinator for health IT, in the e-mail announcement. “The workforce development programs represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of the entire health care industry. The programs are designed to deliver highly qualified professionals who are proficient in every level of the health care delivery system.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $2 billion for health IT programs, including workforce development programs intended to address a need for 50,000 more health IT professionals nationwide.
The Community College Consortia to Educate Health IT Professionals program consists of five regional groups with 82 member community colleges. Member colleges received grants to develop or improve nondegree health IT programs that could be completed in six months or less. ONC says the consortia is on target to graduate 7,000 health IT workers by year-end and will aim for 10,500 per year by 2012.
ONC also noted that more than 1,500 people will receive certificates of advanced study from the Program of Assistance for University-Based Training program. The program is comprised of nine grants totaling $32 million awarded to colleges and universities to quickly establish or expand health IT training programs for health IT professional roles requiring training at the university level. Students can complete the certificate programs in one year or less, and the master’s degree programs in two years or less.