What is Health IT and why is it a national priority?
A groundbreaking transformation is occurring in the delivery of health care in the United States as the federal government and private health care organizations work to curb skyrocketing health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all.
An important component of this medical revolution is Health Information Technology (Health IT), the use of information and communication technology in health care to record, store, protect, retrieve and transfer medical information within healthcare settings. The field of Health IT bridges several professional disciplines including medicine and allied health professions, law, informatics, computer science, business, project management and research.
President Barack Obama has made the investment in “e-health” a priority for the U.S. Towards that end, the president is investing $56 billion dollars in the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to “paperless medicine” by encouraging physicians to adopt standards-based electronic health record (EHRs). It is estimated that between 50,000 and 200,000 new jobs will be created in Health IT in the near future.
The College of Natural Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with multiple Health IT and healthcare partners, have created an innovative 9 week post-baccalaureate certificate program designed to “fast track” university graduates into the rapidly evolving field of Health IT. This professional education program is designed to meet the skills and workforce training requirements identified by major Health IT industry and healthcare sponsors of the certificate program.
It has gained national recognition for its comprehensive curriculum consisting of healthcare policy, economics, technology, data systems, workflow evaluation and business practices. Students enjoy access to a unique clinic environment where they learn workflow processes and clinic operations. They gain hands-on experience with six electronic health record (EHR) systems, and two health information exchange (HIE) software systems in a one-of-a-kind HIE laboratory . Both a real world practicum experience and extensive professional development are program hallmarks.
Graduates receive a certificate in Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange, and most have multiple on-site job interviews at the time of graduation. On average, 92% of the 333 graduates who have sought employment in Health IT have found jobs with 40 Health IT organizations in Texas and nationwide.