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Ohio Board of Regents Approves Cinci State Degree
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 10:05:15 AM - Monroe Ohio

Ohio Board of Regents approve Health Information Technology degree at Cincinnati State

by Judith Gilleland

The Ohio Board of Regents has given Cincinnati State formal approval to offer an associate’s degree in health information technology.

That action marks a crucial final step in the development of a program that is designed to meet employer needs in what is projected by the U.S. Department of Labor to be an area of high demand.

The program at Cincinnati State will provide graduates with the necessary skills to find positions in hospitals, health care systems, physicians’ offices, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, insurance and managed care providers and other providers.

It will also be integrated with a Health Information Technology program offered at Miami University’s branch campuses, so that students might pursue a bachelor’s degree in the same field.

“This is a good example of how we want Ohio’s higher education system to work for students, families and business,” said Chancellor Jim Petro. “There will clearly be a demand for trained workers at all levels in the health information technology field. Cincinnati State and Miami University are working together to offer the necessary education and training in a smart, cost-effective way.”

Cincinnati State President O’dell M. Owens, a physician, said the new degree program – and the way it will be taught – demonstrates how information technology is changing both medicine and education.

“We need whole new skill sets to support the medical professional today,” Dr. Owens said. “At the same time, we’re finding that our students have different approaches to learning those skills.”

The Health Information Technology program at Cincinnati State will be offered in online, traditional and hybrid classroom formats, and will be available at its new Middletown campus. The program will incorporate the College’s traditional co-op requirements.
The program, co-chaired by Cincinnati State faculty Bob Nields and Cindy Kneip, will offer two majors:

Healthcare Programming and Systems Analysis. This will focus on the application of software development and analysis within the health care industry, and train graduates for jobs as software developers or analysts who support healthcare software applications.

Healthcare Informatics. This will provide students with the knowledge and skills to understand, “mine,” analyze, report and support healthcare data throughout the continuum of care.
“This is an exciting program for us because while it builds on our historic strengths, it’s a new field with enormous growth potential,” said Dr. Monica Posey, Academic Vice President at Cincinnati State.

Cincinnati State has one of the largest nursing training programs in the region, as well as health care programs that train students to operate specialized medical equipment, become respiratory therapists, prepare operating rooms for surgeries and the like.
Because of its long history of placing students in clinical rotations, and because of its work with the Health Careers Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, Dr. Posey said, faculty and staff at the College have maintained a solid understanding of workforce demands and the technological changes that are transforming the industry.

In particular, she said, national and regional studies show that the industry is moving rapidly to incorporate new development in the information technology field into both clinical care and efforts at cost-effectiveness, improved patient access to their records and the like.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, she noted, employment in the health information technology area is projected to increase by approximately 20 percent through 2018.

Research cited by the Regents suggests that salaries for workers in starting positions have potential to be between $34,000 and $44,000 annually.

Cincinnati State will launch its Health Information Technology associate degree program in the 2012 Fall Semester.

Dr. Posey said initial enrollment is projected at approximately 25 full-time and 20 part-time students.

Both the Cincinnati State and Miami University regional campus programs are supported by a $4.9 million U.S. Department of Labor training grant to the Health Careers Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati. Miami University and Cincinnati State are among the partners in the Health Careers Collaborative.
 

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