HHS to award $80 million for health IT training

December 10, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to award $80 million in grants to develop and strengthen the health information technology workforce.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to award $80 million in grants to develop and strengthen the health information technology (IT) workforce. Authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the funding will include $70 million for community college training programs and $10 million for educational materials to support those programs.

“Ensuring the adoption of electronic health records [EHRs], information exchange among healthcare providers and public health authorities, and redesign of workflows within healthcare settings all depend on having a qualified pool of workers,” David Blumenthal, MD, MPH, HHS national coordinator for health information technology, said in a prepared statement. “The expansion of a highly skilled workforce developed through these programs will help healthcare providers and hospitals implement and maintain EHRs and use them to strengthen delivery of care.”

The community college program will establish intensive, non-degree training that individuals with some background in either the healthcare or IT field should be able to complete in six or fewer months. The curriculum development program will aim to make educational materials available to the community colleges so that these training programs can be established quickly.