$80 Million in Stimulus Grants to Train Health IT Workforce

Dr. David Blumenthal, Health and Human Services' national coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced the grants on Tuesday. Details of the training they will fund will be released in the next few weeks.

A total of $80 million in grants authorized by the federal stimulus law is being offered to develop and strengthen the health information technology workforce. There will be $70 million for community college training programs and $10 million to develop educational materials to support them, Dr. David Blumenthal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' national coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced the grants on Tuesday. HHS says there is an immediate need for skilled health IT professionals to facilitate broad use of health IT nationwide.

Details of the training will be released in the next few weeks. "Ensuring the adoption of electronic health records, information exchange among health care providers and public health authorities, and redesign of workflows within health care settings all depend on having a qualified pool of workers," Blumenthal said. "The expansion of a highly skilled workforce developed through these programs will help health care providers and hospitals implement and maintain EHRs and use them to strengthen delivery of care."

HHS said the community college program will deliver six months or less of non-degree training to students who have "some background in either health care or IT fields." Any U.S. non-profit institution of higher learning currently providing training in health IT that is interested in drafting a curriculum or establishing a consortium that includes community colleges may apply for the grants. Information about grant applications will be available here.

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