Electronic Data Management Expands Health Care Career Opportunities

06/09/03    Portland, Ore.

With increasing demand for medical informatics professionals, OHSU joins with national professional organizations to promote its medical informatics distance learning program

With health care organizations relying more on information technology as the solution to data management, the demand for health care professionals in medical informatics continues to increase.

To help meet this demand, Oregon Health & Science University has formed separate agreements with two national organizations for medical informatics professionals. These organizations, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), will help promote OHSU's medical informatics distance learning graduate certificate program and will provide their members with tuition discounts. Medical informatics is the field concerned with the acquisition, storage and use of health care information.

"Until recently most medical informatics education programs have focused on preparing researchers at the cutting edge of the field," said William Hersh, M.D., professor and chairman of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology (DMICE) in the OHSU School of Medicine. "However, a growing number of programs like the graduate certificate program offered by OHSU are focusing on the much larger number of applied or professional informaticians who work in operational as opposed to research settings."

HIMSS will promote the OHSU certificate program by providing information to its more than 13,000 individual members and 125 corporate members through its Web site, newsletters and other outlets. AMDIS also will promote the program to its physician members, associates and foundation. Members of both groups who enroll in the program will receive a 5 percent tuition discount.

"The graduate certificate program in medical informatics from OHSU offers HIMSS members an opportunity to expand their knowledge in health care information technology, but at a pace that fits their schedules and locations," said Becky Mancuso, Ph.D., manager of HIMSS distance learning. "We look forward to working with OHSU and are pleased to offer this program to our members as a way to further their education and enhance their careers."

OHSU's DMICE has an international reputation in medical informatics. It developed the graduate certificate program and enrolls more students than any other similar program in the world. The department also is a leader in medical informatics research, developing new approaches to electronic medical records, computerized physician order entry, and access to online knowledge resources. These research opportunities enrich students' educational experiences.

AMDIS is the premier professional organization dedicated to the promotion, development and sharing of information between physicians responsible for organizational leadership in information technology. AMDIS members are physician leaders from hospitals, health care systems, managed care organizations, clinics, private practice, consulting firms, vendors and other organizations.

"AMDIS is pleased to be working with OHSU in increasing opportunities for health care professionals interested in learning more about medical informatics and expanding the awareness of its distance learning program," said Richard Rydell, M.D., executive director of AMDIS. "OHSU's distance learning program is a good fit for AMDIS members interested in medical informatics."

The distance-learning program comprises eight online courses. Most students finish the 24 hours of coursework in two years. The certificate curriculum, a subset of OHSU's on-site and distance learning master's degree programs in medical informatics, includes coursework in electronic medical records, information retrieval, outcomes research, organizational behavior and management, and bioinformatics.

OHSU was among the first to offer a medical informatics distance-learning program. About 200 students from around the world currently take the distance-learning classes. While more than half of the enrollees have been physicians, others have had backgrounds in nursing, pharmacy, librarianship, health care administration and other fields.

OHSU has more than 40 master's degrees in the field since 1998 and has 60 students currently enrolled. A doctoral program will begin this fall, and a postdoctoral fellowship has existed since 1992. Graduates of OHSU's medical informatics programs find work with hospitals and clinics, health product vendors and manufacturers, and other universities. Contact the OHSU program administrator via e-mail at informat@ohsu.edu or by calling 503 494-4563. Visit http://www.ohsu.edu/bicc-informatics/distance/ to access the OHSU medical informatics Web site.

HIMSS provides leadership in health care for the advancement and management of information technology and management systems. Visit www.himss.org for more information. For more information about the program, contact Becky Mancuso via e-mail at bmancuso@himss.org or by calling 312 915-9265.

AMDIS is a physician membership organization dedicated to advance the field of applied medical informatics. For more information, contact AMDIS via e-mail at info@amdis.org or visit www.amdis.org.