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Be Part of the Switch to Electronic Health Records
October 1, 2012


Interested in learning the skills needed to help with the mandated switch to electronic health records? Walters State has just lowered the price of its online HITECH program to just $100. 

Rebates are also available for students who complete the program by March 15, 2013. That means the training – including all needed materials except a computer and Internet access – will be free.
 
“We want as many people as possible to take advantage of the program and be ready when health care providers make the move to electronic health records,” said Gail Winkler, program director. Winkler also directs the for-credit Health Information Technology Program at the college. 

“With this new price, we hope to attract many more students to this program before it ends. The switch to electronic health records is coming. We need to make sure the area’s workforce has the skills needed to help healthcare providers transition to the new technology and then maintain required standards in areas like security and privacy. 

Classes are now starting each week. Students should have a background in healthcare or computer and information science, although some exceptions may be made. The program is completely online and students have completed it without ever visiting the Walters State campus. Students who complete the program will be able to sit for the new HIT-Pro exam. This HIT-Pro credential will show potential employers that graduates have electronic healthcare records skills.

Health care providers will be making the switch by 2015, Winkler said. The department’s staff members are willing to work to assist office managers and doctors determine what training is appropriate for specific needs.
“The switch from paper records will create new jobs, but many smaller practices will be able to handle it if the people in the office are trained appropriately,” she added.

Walters State is one of only three colleges in Tennessee offering HITECH training and the only one offering all six available areas: practice workflow and information management redesign; clinician/practitioner consultants; implementation support specialists; implementation managers; technical software support staff; and trainer. Each area represents a different workplace role. 

Classes start each week, but Winkler stressed that the clock is ticking on this opportunity.

“The time to take advantage of this opportunity is very limited. Right now, we can serve everyone who meets application requirements. As the program is slated to end in March, fitting everyone in will be difficult later. We’ve had students complete the program in two months, but we want to give everyone enough time,” Winkler said.
 
“We work closely with our students and want each one to succeed. Staff members will guide students through any problem areas. I know some people may be nervous about taking a program entirely online, but staff members are available to help and encourage our students. We have one of the lowest attrition rates in our multi-state region,” Winkler said. 

For more information on the program, visit www.ws.edu/hit or contact the HITECH Office at (423) 585-6851. 

In the photo: Barbara Kelley-Anderson, student support specialist with Walters State’s HITECH Workforce Training Program, left, works with Gail Winkler, program director, to grade work done by students. The program trains employers for the switch to electronic health records. The price has been lowered to $100.