National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (NCHIT) David Blumenthal has launched his own blog, where he announced this week $80 million in grants for health IT training, mainly to community colleges.
The money was authorized as part of the Obama stimulus, specifically the $19.2 billion HITECH Act.
Administrators can apply for a total of $70 million in community college grants, which would go into programs aiming to train health IT professionals. The hope is that 10,500 people can be trained annually in the use of health IT systems through the program.
These are not programming jobs. Among the "exciting job opportunities" the money hopes to create are:
- Practice workflow and information management redesign specialists;
- Clinician/practitioner consultants;
- Implementation support specialists;
- Implementation managers;
- Technical/software support staff;
This follows common medical practice, where a hospital or medical practice has a number of people trained at different levels of depth to perform different roles.
In addition to the training money, there's $10 million available to create the training materials for these programs.
It will be interesting to find out just what is going to be taught, given the wide differences among all the various EHR systems now on the market.
Will Community Colleges align themselves with specific vendors in order to stretch their dollars, thereby giving those products market advantages? Or will the curriculum be more general, based on technical standards and legal requirements?
Stay tuned to Blumenthal's blog for more. We've put it on our blogroll.