Getting to Know Your Community College Consortium: Part 5, Region E

As part of a series on the Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Professionals Program, this blog post highlights the activities and accomplishments of the students and community colleges in Region E. 

Region E 101

By: Dr. Gretchen LeFever, Tidewater Community College

I am the Director of the Health Information Consortium for Region E, and I have a lot of exciting information that I would like to share with you about our region.

Region E, led by Tidewater Community College (TCC), has developed and deployed health information technology (health IT) training programs through 22 member colleges located in 11 states and the District of Columbia, including one college located in a rural area. The following states have colleges participating in the Region E Consortium:

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Across Region E, training is provided in the six established workforce roles using the curriculum disseminated through the National Training Development Center. Some of our participating colleges offer the training for academic credit, while others offer it as noncredit training. The training is delivered in three formats: face-to-face (six colleges), online (eight colleges), and hybrid (eight colleges). More than 1,000 students have been enrolled in these programs, and by April 2011, we expect that at least 960 of these students will graduate.

Our Curriculum and Students

TCC uses a consolidated curriculum, which includes a two-track training model: Health IT Engineering or Health IT Consulting. TCC developed this model based on feedback from program instructors, businesses that are positioned to hire program graduates, and experienced health IT consultants. This consolidated model is being adopted and/or explored by Region E member colleges, and it provides an efficient way to train individuals in multiple workforce roles.

The two-track training model requires careful selection of students and enrollment in a training track that matches the student’s educational and/or prior work experience. Specifically, only students with IT backgrounds are appropriate for the Health IT Engineering track. Likewise, only students with health care or other relevant managerial or business experience are appropriate for the Health IT Consulting track.

By organizing the delivery of training around student education and work experience, the training can be delivered in six months or less, while including all the essential and highly desirable training components.

Success for Our Students

TCC invited a health IT consultant to speak to our students in November of 2010. The consultant’s firm had already hired one of our students prior to the student’s graduation. He was impressed with the quality of our students, and said he would notify them as job openings became available at his firm.

Soon thereafter, the firm hired one of our students (three months prior to graduation) as a Health Information Technology Specialist. The same firm is now preparing to hire up to 20 to 30 TCC graduates in the near future for a hospital EHR implementation and go-live engagement, which involves having specially trained individuals on hand as a hospital “turns on” and transitions to using its new EHR system.

Karan DiNardo, a Bridgewater, NJ resident, first applied to Raritan Valley Community College’s (RVCC) EHR Certificate Program in December 2010. Karan is an IT professional with more than 15 years of experience who has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science/Math, and is PMP Certified. Karan had been unemployed, and was looking for new opportunities.

As a student in RVCC’s EHR Certificate Program, Karan was hired by the New Jersey Primary Care Association as a Clinical Applications Workflow Analyst. In this position, Karan will develop an understanding of Federal Quality Health Center patient care settings and collaborate with the centers to evaluate and document requirements and workflows. This will help ensure that information is collected within the necessary time frames in order for providers to meet the meaningful use criteria.

We look forward to sharing more of our students’ successes!

For More Information

To see which community colleges are participating in the Region E Consortium, go to ONC’s Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Professionals Program web page.

Not sure which colleges are participating near you? Contact the consortium leader for your geographical area or check out ONC’s list of participating colleges.

8 Comments

  1. HIT Student says:

    I know some students taking the 6-month HIT program at a local community college here in Maryland. Unfortunately they have mentioned there are really no job opportunities or even hands-on internship opportunities through the program.

    • ONC Blog Team says:

      Hi Ed, Please try the ONC JobsMine on the HIMSS website and also we suggest connecting on LinkedIn and join groups that are focused on electronic health records and implementation and. Some of those groups may contain job postings.

      • Ed says:

        Thank you for sharing this information. Unfortunately, graduates of the health IT certification program need opportunities such as internships and secular opportunities through direct partnerships CCBC has with health organizations. This would make the program more effective and assist graduates in obtaining jobs in this uprising field which I believe is the ultimate goal of this program.

    • Mecuria Jones says:

      You are absolutely correct. I recently completed the program, and unfortunately, there is no official “credential” given for completion. The few jobs that I saw in the MD-VA region are asking for many years of experience. I am looking into completing a 2-year program to earn a valid credential for employment.

      • Adrienne says:

        I must agree> I just completed the program and received nothing at the end. However, I am preparing to take the certification exam as soon as the vouchers are available. Employers are looking for many years of experience yet it is predicted to be a major shortage. Something has got to give.

  2. I like the two-track training model: Health IT Engineering vs. Health IT Consulting.

    Shouldn’t you boldly state which hospital plans to hire 20-30 TCC graduates? I mean that’s the ultimate success story of this CCC program!

  3. Tom C says:

    Does anyone know where I could post a job opening at Raritan Valley Community College or any Health centered training program? I think good jobs are out there, but we need to set up employers with applicants.

    Let me know. Thanks!

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