Health IT Workforce Development Program Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary
March 2012 marked the two-year anniversary of the Community College Consortia Program, which is part of ONC’s Health IT Workforce Development Program. The Consortia Program is enabling community colleges across the country to train a skilled workforce of health IT professionals. To date, an impressive 12,000 students have completed health IT training at 82 community colleges funded by the Consortia Program.
Graduates of the Community College Consortia Program are at the forefront of a movement to improve health care delivery nationwide. They are helping the nation make the transition to a health care system that is safer, better coordinated, and patient-centered by:
- Assisting providers and hospitals in achieving meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs);
- Demonstrating to providers and hospitals the value of EHRs and the benefits of meaningful use;
- Educating users of EHRs about privacy and security protections; and
- Fostering health information exchange.
A Call to Action for the Health IT Workforce Development Program
In response to the challenges of the HITECH Act, community colleges were called to action in April 2010 to address the shortage of trained health IT professionals. The nation looked to community colleges because of their proven ability to:
- Listen to business, industry, and the community;
- Respond quickly and appropriately to identify needs;
- Work collaboratively with education and employer partners; and
- Produce results.
Guided by five strong consortia lead institutions, the funded community colleges quickly ramped up. They created training materials, marketed their programs, hired faculty, and enrolled students—all by September 2010. This was a remarkable accomplishment, as the colleges also had to deal with academic policies to ensure that credit and non-credit programs complemented and connected with one another. The faculty members who were instrumental in implementing the new programs and training the first students deserve a special thanks.
Students in the Health IT Workforce Development Program
The majority of the students enrolled in the health IT programs to date have had a graduate or professional degree with six or more years of work experience in the health care or information technology fields. The training has helped them get promoted in their current jobs, have a competitive edge in the job market, and even change careers. (For more information, visit the Workforce Development Program’s Student Testimonials page.)
After a successful first two years, the Community College Consortia Program remains sharply focused on addressing the nation’s urgent health IT training needs. Participating schools continue to deliver a demand-driven curriculum that responds to the evolving health IT industry. Community colleges are in a position to provide customized training to health care professionals, enabling providers and hospital systems to transform health care delivery.
For More Information on the Health IT Workforce Development Program
- Health IT Buzz Blog – Community College Consortia section
- Community College Consortia Program
- HealthIT.gov-Workforce Programs