Santa Fe College Awarded Stimulus Grant to Develop Electronic Medical Records Training

Santa Fe College Awarded Stimulus Grant to Develop Electronic Medical Records Training

Santa Fe College was recently awarded stimulus funding to create training in Health Information Technology (HIT), better known as electronic medical records. Santa Fe was selected as one of only three schools in Florida, and 70 nationwide, to offer the training.

Santa Fe will receive approximately $950,000 over two years to establish non-degree training programs, or career certificate programs, that can be completed in six months or less by individuals with appropriate prior education and/or experience. The funding is through the Information Technology Professionals in Health Care: Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Technology Professionals Cooperative Agreement Program.

The new HIT program is expected to start accepting students by Sept. 30. Classes will be delivered on campus and online.

 “This grant will speed up the transition to electronic medical records already underway in Florida,” said Ed Bonahue, Santa Fe’s interim provost. “The increased use of information and communication technology will reduce both paperwork and medical errors. It will cut health care costs by decreasing the duplication of tests, and ultimately, it will improve quality of care by assuring health care providers have accurate and timely information.”

In all, an estimated $36 million in cooperative agreements were made with five regional recipients to establish the multi-institutional HIT consortium. Seventy community colleges are particiapting across the nation. The consortia as a whole are expected to train at least 10,500 students annually. Santa Fe is a part of the HIT consortium region led by Pitt Community College (N.C.).

 “These grant funds are stimulus dollars and will provide for several positions here at the college, not to mention training leading to employment for the benefit of our students and community,” said Joan Suchorski, associate vice president for development grants and projects.

What types of work roles are supported by HIT training? 

  • Practice workflow and information management redesign specialist
  • Clinician/practitioner consultant
  • Implementation support specialist
  • Implementation manager
  • Technical/software support staff
  • Trainer

The grant requires Santa Fe to train a minimum of 75 HIT students a year. The college expects to hire seven new positions, with most in instruction and some in advising.

James (Jim) Geason, director, Business Programs, will serve as project director. Santa Fe will create a program with several entry and exit points.

“We will offer as much variety as possible,” Geason explained. “We want people to be successful. We will structure this so there are many intermediate steps and points along the line in which people can enter and leave the program, depending on their background and career goals.”

Santa Fe already has programs in the health information area. Professor Julie Shay is the director of the Coder Biller program and the Health Information Technology program; Kezia Awadzi is the director of the bachelor of applied science in Health Services administration program.

For more information, please contact Project Director Jim Geason at 352-381-3667.