Federally Funded Health IT Training Not a Magic Ticket

Susan Hall
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Health Care IT Still Needs Critical Care

Despite focusing on compliance and security issues, progress to date has been somewhat limited.

The Hartford Business Journal found that going through the federally funded health care IT program at its local Capital Community College hasn't left its graduates mobbed with job offers.


In fact, only four of the 33 graduates have found a job (half already were employed). That's really not surprising, depending on those graduates' background. As I've written before, employers are looking for a specific level of experience to go along with this training, which generally takes six months or less. Plus, the training ended this summer, meaning these candidates have been job-hunting for only a few weeks.


The training, for either health care workers or IT workers, tries to gel the two as providers scurry to meet key deadlines in the next few months for implementing electronic records systems. But that push also means that employers may not have time or the inclination to deal with entry-level workers.


The Journal article quotes Todd Park, chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying:

There has been a lot of job growth in the health IT industry, but these programs are having a tougher time connecting graduates to actual jobs. I'm sure it's solvable. I know it's not a demand-side issue.

For college-degree-level training, the University of California-San Diego named health care IT the hottest field going.


With so much activity going on in the field, as John Brady, chief financial officer of the Connecticut Hospital Association, pointed out in the article, new health IT workers could find job opportunities with health IT vendors as well as with health-care providers.


Meanwhile, in an interview with InformationWeek, Dr. Bonnie Westra, a board member of the American Medical Informatics Association, laments that government grants to expand nursing education did not provide anything specifically for nursing informatics. The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants totaling $71.3 million.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has declared that the study of information management and application of technology for patient care are essential parts of nursing education. And the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has addressed the need to quickly ramp up this work force.


Other HHS grants fund the community-college-level and university-level certification programs, though, a possible reason informatics was not specifically mentioned in these grants.

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