Health Information Technology Grants Announced

December 8, 2009 by Emsi Burning Glass

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced two grants — with awards totaling $80 million — targeted toward strengthening the health information technology workforce via new training programs and curriculum development. The training will be focused “primarily at the community college level.”

The awards are divided into two categories — $10 million for developing health IT curriculum and $70 million for community colleges programs. Applications are due January 14 and January 22, respectively.

The Community College Times has more about the grants here.

According to the grant application specific to community college training, it is critical to have “a skilled workforce that can facilitate the implementation and support of an electronic health care system.” With that in mind, there are six priority positions for which training must be completed in six months or less depending the background of the individual:

  1. Practice workflow and information management redesign specialists

  2. Clinician/practitioner consultants

  3. Implementation support specialists

  4. Implementation managers

  5. Technical/software support staff

  6. Trainers

Descriptions and tasks for each job title that requires short-term training can be found in this guidance letter (PDF) on pages 53-54.

For the large grant, the HHS will hand out awards ranging from $6.2 million to $21.15 million to a consortium of colleges in five different regions of the US (see the map on pg. 9 of of the guidance letter). It’s estimated that the five groups will represent approximately 70 colleges in all.

How EMSI Can Help

Each community college or consortium must “have a plan to connect individuals completing these programs with job opportunities,” (pg. 11). That’s why it is essential to establish trends and have hard, up-to-date data for these health- and IT-related positions outlined above.

To assist in the application process, EMSI can help translate the six job descriptions into O*NET-SOC codes, which are built into our web-based tools. Once that is complete, you can go about establishing the need in your region for training programs.

Career Pathways and Economic Forecaster can be used to look at the skills and labor market outlook (growth, earnings, openings, etc.) of those occupations and map them to industries (via inverse staffing patterns) and existing programs (via a CIP crosswalk) in your region. Even if programs have already been established in your area that relate to these occupations, the grant would allow community colleges to adapt the offering(s) specifically to health IT training.

After linking the job titles to occupation codes and industries, you can tie the relevant industries to a list of regional businesses inside Economic Forecaster. The employers can be used to verify the data and establish industry needs.

Any of our regional Customer Solutions representatives would be glad to walk you through our tools and data and help make the application process smoother. Please email Rob Sentz or call 208.883.3500 for more.