BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - With the support of a new two-year, $1.8 million award from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Health Services Administration will help spearhead the development of a curriculum needed to meet national objectives for increased and widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs).
Eta S. Berner, Ed.D., professor of Health Informatics in the Department of Health Services Administration, is the recipient of one of five Curriculum Development Center grants that are part of the health information technology (IT) workforce program. The ONC is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Increased use of EHRs in the nation's health-care system will require a substantial workforce that will need specific training in how to organize and use EHRs and safeguard information in those records. Berner will use this grant to work collaboratively with ONC and the other awardees to develop a set of online education materials for community colleges nationwide to train personnel for selected health IT roles.
"It is vitally important that clinicians implementing EHRs have the support of individuals knowledgeable about health IT," said Berner, who is also director of biomedical informatics for the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science. "Our team will prepare a portion of the curriculum for training those people to ensure that the goals for improved health-care quality and decreased costs can be met."
"Dr. Berner is a nationally recognized leader in this field and our department possesses the breadth and depth of health-care IT management teachers and professionals who will work with her on this project," said Gerald L. Glandon, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Services Administration and interim director of the Health Informatics Program. "In addition, one of the strengths of our proposal was our collaboration with colleagues in the schools of Nursing, Medicine, Public Health and Dentistry at UAB."
The development tasks will be divided among five of the leading health IT educational institutions in the nation; UAB, Oregon Health & Science University, Columbia University, Duke University and Johns Hopkins University.
"This appointment further demonstrates the national prominence of the UAB Department of Health Services Administration in health informatics and health-care-management education and research," said Harold Jones, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Health Professions. "It indicates the high regard the program and its faculty enjoy among both academic institutions and within the industry."