Spokane Journal of Business

NIC plans to offer two courses in health record systems

School will use $625,000 from stimulus fund grant focused on modernization

  • Print Article

North Idaho College says it will offer this school year training in the adoption and implementation of electronic health record systems after having received a $625,000 federal grant to train health information-technology workers.

The school says it will offer this fall classes for an Electronic Medical Records Adoption for Health-Care Practices certificate, which it says will be suited for health-care workers who are faced with adopting and implementing an electronic health record system where they work.

In the spring semester, it plans to offer a second certificate program that most likely will be titled EMR Software Support for Health-Care Practices, NIC says.

"That certificate will be ideally suited to persons with a strong IT foundation that wish to transition into health care and work with health-care facilities and EMR vendors installing and troubleshooting EMR software products," says Sue Shibley, manager of the grant for NIC.

NIC's grant money comes from federal stimulus funds. The school says its health IT training program is intended to position students "to take advantage of $19.2 billion allocated by the federal government to implement a new health information-technology system."

"With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, health organizations will receive incentive funding to help them swap from paper-based records to digital record systems," the school says. "The movement to electronic health records is likely to affect every level of the health-care industry, and health organizations will need trained employees to help them navigate the transition."

The federal government estimates about 51,000 qualified health information-technology workers will be required over the next five years to meet the needs of hospitals and physicians as they adopt the new system, NIC says.

The school is encouraging out-of-state students to apply for such training at community colleges in their states that received training funds.

"Part of the grant requirements is to place program completers in the local job market," Shibley says. "That could pose a problem with out-of-state students."

In Washington state, Bellevue College, formerly Bellevue Community College, received training funds, says a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site.

Each of NIC's training programs will be a 10-credit program, and in-state tuition at NIC for that many credits is $1,111, Shibley says. Textbooks will cost about $100 per course, and the program will include five courses.

The first 135 students who complete the program before mid-May 2011 will be eligible for tuition reimbursement, NIC says.

Shibley says it hasn't been decided whether NIC will offer the training after the 2010-2011 school year. "We have to see what the demand will be," she says. The grant money runs out in March 2012, which would be mid-semester.

The federal government wants hospitals and other medical providers to have electronic medical record systems in operation by 2014, but demand for training for software support workers could continue into the future, Shibley says.

  • Richard Ripley

  • Follow RSS feed for Richard Ripley

Read More

Sign up for our E-mail updates

including the
Morning Edition

Join our list