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Expanding and Strengthening the Health IT Workforce

Dr. David Blumenthal | December 24, 2009

Today the administration announced two additional programs to support the development of the skilled workforce needed to support broad adoption and use of health IT.  Awards totaling $32 million to establish or expand university-based health IT training programs and $6 million dollars to develop a health IT competency testing program will complement the previously announced workforce development program grants established through the Recovery Act.

Understanding the technology and how it functions is not the only requirement for successful implementation of electronic health records systems nationwide.  The successful incorporation of health IT into patient care includes accessing information at the point of care to inform clinical decisions, changing dynamic workflows within the clinic, and supporting constantly evolving systems.

Ensuring the adoption of EHRs, redesign of workflows within health care settings, and information exchange among health care providers and public health authorities all depend on having a pool of skilled health IT professionals working closely with providers to support the implementation and sustainability of the technology over time.  As a whole, the workforce development program is expected to generate sufficient additional individuals trained in key roles to meet 85 percent of the estimated need for expansion of the health IT professional workforce.

You can learn more about the workforce development program grants at http://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/workforce-development-program.