Academic Education

Training the Health IT Workforce at Indiana University Case Study

Indiana University (IU) School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, a hub for innovation in the life sciences and a model for healthcare in the digital age. Indianapolis is one of the ‘Most Wired’ healthcare markets in the nation, home to five major technology-ready networks of hospitals and physician practices. Further, Indianapolis is home to the largest health information exchange (HIE) in the U.S. These community resources provide access to patient data with research possibilities that are truly unprecedented. Our community is also home to a health informatics accelerator, which works with entrepreneurs to take their innovative ideas to the market.

The health informatics program at SOIC provides students access to a unique combination of faculty as well as organizational and community resources to enhance learning and research. Faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research on the next generation of health information technology (IT) systems, applications of health analytics and development of technologies to support patients wherever they may need access to health informatics.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law February 17, 2009, included an estimated spending of $167 billion over ten years for programs supporting efforts to improve healthcare and modernize its infrastructure. The provisions of the Act are specifically designed to provide the necessary assistance and technical support to providers, enable coordination within and among states, establish connectivity to the public health community and assure the workforce is properly trained and equipped to be meaningful users of EHRs and health IT.

A recent exploration of health IT job postings revealed a lack of alignment between and within the competencies and skills required by health-informatics-related jobs and those presented as outcomes of health informatics curricula. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Accreditation Committee (AAC), in collaboration with the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM), has been reframing and redefining through an iterative process the standards for graduate education in health informatics. The resulting revisions set forth 10 foundational domains, each with accompanying knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to succeed as health informatics professionals in an ever-changing job market. Yet only 24.2% of the proposed competencies for health informatics graduate education match the demands of the job market.