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New one- and two-year graduate programs address critical need for health IT professionals

July 1, 2010

Investments in the future of health care delivery include more than training additional doctors and nurses. Health information technology (health IT) specialists are critical.

While a growing number of hospitals and physicians want to offer their patients the benefits of electronic medical records and health information exchange, there is a nationwide shortage of highly skilled health IT workers to fill an estimated 60,000 positions.

In collaboration with the Regenstrief Institute, an internationally respected biomedical and public health informatics innovator dedicated to improving health by enhancing the quality of health care, the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI will address the growing workforce needs for qualified health IT workers by creating an array of specialized one- and two-year graduate programs offering a combination of classroom instruction, distance accessible learning opportunities and on the job training.

These new programs are supported by a competitively awarded training grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). This $1.4 million in Recovery Act funding is part of a $118 million investment by ONC in rapidly and sustainably increasing the availability of skilled health IT professionals needed to support the widespread adoption and meaningful use of health IT.

“We hope that people with computer backgrounds will want to explore the health world. We anticipate that physicians and others from the medical environment will be eager to learn how to utilize information technology to make patient care better and more efficient. With the support of ONC we are able to offer a variety of coursework options, provide stipends and also to arrange practicums at leading regional health institutions including several large hospital systems. Those who complete either the one or two year programs will be extremely well qualified to work in health IT,” said John T. Finnell, M.D., M.Sc., the Regenstrief Institute investigator and IU School of Medicine associate professor of emergency medicine who directs the IU-Regenstrief initiative.

The IU-Regenstrief programs will produce trained professionals for vital, highly specialized health IT roles. Trainees may include physicians, nurses and other health-care providers, as well as IT and computer science professionals. Most trainees will complete intensive courses of study in a year or less, while others will study toward a master’s degree in health IT. Tuition support is available for the most qualified applicants.

Additional information on the programs to be offered this fall can be found at www.in-info-web2.soic.iupui.edu/HITtraining.

An HHS news release on the University-Based Training Program awards can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/04/20100402a.html.
 

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