November 24, 2009 - Seventy million dollars in grant money will go to community college training programs for health information technology professionals, and $10 million is designated to develop educational materials to support these programs.
The grants, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), support programs to support the immediate need for skilled health information technology (health IT) professionals to enable the broad adoption and use of health IT throughout the United States.
The availability of a skilled workforce that understands the unique technology and management needs within a clinical setting is critical to achieving the goal of the Heath Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act,” said David Blumenthal, M.D., the HHS national coordinator for health information technology
These grants are the first in a series of programs to help strengthen and support the health IT workforce.
“Ensuring the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), information exchange among healthcare providers and public health authorities, and redesign of workflows within healthcare settings all depend on having a qualified pool of workers,” said Dr. Blumenthal. “The expansion of a highly skilled workforce developed through these programs will help healthcare providers and hospitals implement and maintain EHRs and use them to strengthen delivery of care.”
The Community College program will establish intensive, non-degree training that can be completed in six months or less by individuals with some background in either healthcare or IT fields. Participating colleges will coordinate their efforts through five regional consortia that span the nation. Graduates of this training will fill a variety of roles that both assist healthcare practices during the critical process of deploying IT systems and support these practices on an ongoing basis.
For more information: healthIT.HHS.gov/HITECHgrants