244636 Building a Health IT Workforce To Meet the Needs of Underserved Communities

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yael Harris, PhD, MHS , Office of Health IT & Quality, Health Resources & Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Background: There is an insufficient number of professionals trained in health informatics to support the growth in health information technology expected as a result of the HITECH and Affordable Care Acts. Efforts have been made over the past years to begin to address this gap. However, these efforts are insufficient to meet the increasing demand for HIT professionals. With a dearth in the number of trained staff, settings that provide care to minority, low income, and/or vulnerable populations are most likely to have difficulty competing for qualified professionals to support the successful adoption and implementation of HIT.

Objective/purpose: The purpose of this session is to describe efforts being undertaken through public-private partnerships to begin to address the challenge of recruiting an HIT workforce by providers in underserved or vulnerable communities. The presentation will discuss the policy levers that are being employed to begin to address the challenges facing these communities and outline next steps.

Methods: Presenters will discuss specific strategies that have been undertaken to address the workforce shortage.

Results: The session will highlight the successes of these policy efforts. Data will also trend the success of new endeavors including a national Health IT databank enrollment in Area Health Education Center programs on Health IT.

Discussion/conclusions: Health IT is considered a critical component for quality improvement. There is a need for professionals with special training in informatics to help support the successful adoption of this technology. With a workforce shortage, providers who treat vulnerable and underserved populations are at a considerable disadvantage. The efforts of federal and private stakeholders to help address these challenges has begun to transform the access of underserved providers to health IT professionals.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session, attendees will understand 1) Federal programs aimed at developing HIT professionals 2) Private programs aimed at connecting providers with available workforce resources 3) Innovative Federal efforts to ensure underserved providers have access to these resources

Keywords: Health Information Systems, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the federal leads on executing this work
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.