A “first of its kind” educational partnership between a research university and a technical college has resulted in the launch a one-year certificate program in Health Information Technology (HIT). Gwinnett Technical College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, collaborators on a $1.65 million job accelerator grant, are blending their academic strengths to train professionals for this fast-growing healthcare sector.
This month, the first class of students will start the program at GTC. In three years, the goal is to have the program in technical colleges across the state.
“Our ultimate goal is simple – to achieve higher-quality, lower-cost and more patient-centric healthcare throughout Georgia,”# says Steve Rushing, director of Health at the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech. “This initiative leverages existing resources to boost job creation through technology deployment, and thus economic development.”#
“HIT is a growing sector where there are jobs – for those with the right skills and training,”# explains Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels. “The program Gwinnett Tech has developed will help fill this unmet need for a skilled workforce and connect job seekers with employers.”#
Students will have access to the leading-edge technology and software applications that are shaping this field, including the Interoperability & Integration Innovation Lab (I3L) developed by Georgia Tech. In essence, they will “field test” some of the tools they will use on the job, equipping them to build the IT world that future medical professionals will need to effectively delivery health services.
The HIT certificate program is particularly suited to those who already have experience in either IT or the healthcare industry. “The idea that you can take 19 year olds and send them out at the age of 23 knowing everything they”re ever going to need to know is just wrong,”# says Stephen Fleming, vice president and executive director, EI2, Georgia Tech. “How much of what”s relevant in health IT now even existed 10 years ago? Almost zero. You are going to see everyone needing lifelong learning, especially in the area of health IT.”#
Gwinnett Tech program director Victoria Albee describes the ideal candidates for an HIT career, “People who enjoy change, can learn quickly and are excited about bringing their IT or medical experience to a different kind of environment, while still making a tremendous difference in the lives of people.”#
The one-year HIT certificate program is employer-driven and is designed to help veterans, the underemployed and those unemployed rapidly enter the HIT field, ultimately expanding the workforce needed to build and maintain health IT systems. The program offers tuitions stipends for veterans and may offer funding for other eligible students. GTC also offers an associate degree in Health Information Technology.
The next application deadline for both the HIT certificate and the associate degree program is April 5. For more information, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu/HIT or call 770-226-6404.