Health IT training gets a personnel injection

New efforts in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas aim to better prepare future hospital employees
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As staff shortages continue to plague the healthcare IT industry, quality training for new employees grows ever more important. The opening of the QIT Center in Pittsburgh last week is the latest in a long line of efforts geared toward ensuring that more hospitals and healthcare organizations are adequately staffed with capable individuals going forward.

The center, a joint project of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and Health Careers Futures--which helps to "align supply and demand" of healthcare workers in Southwestern Pennsylvania--will offer training for everyone from healthcare executives to front-line employees, according to a recent announcement.

The foundation and the Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism fund contributed $200,000 a piece toward the center's opening, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Fees, grants and continued assistance from the government will help to sustain the center, according to the newspaper.

Kaiser Permanente last week announced that it was opening a new IT campus in Greenwood Village, Colo., next month. Meanwhile, the University of Texas at Austin recently added a health information exchange laboratory to its health IT certificate program. The lab allows students to practice skills such as creating continuity of care documents and merging information from different EHRs.

A report released in September found electronic health record training to be the most sought after skill by healthcare employers, and credited the increase in need to the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program. Meanwhile, a report from February determined that the lack of individuals trained in health IT--and the lack of faculty to train such individuals--has been a barrier to clinical informatics programs.

A brief released that same month by the eHealth Initiative found that health information exchanges have plenty of openings for qualified IT workers, but avoid hiring graduates of federal training programs authorized by the HITECH Act.

To learn more:
- here's the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's announcement
- read the Pittsburg Post-Gazette article

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