Innovative Curriculum Focuses on Health Information Technology

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – June 11, 2009 – UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics and the College of Health and Human Services are collaborating on a new curriculum, which will train students to meet the 21st century needs of the healthcare industry. Students will have an opportunity to receive a professional science master’s degree in health information technology.

“Electronic medical records are coming,” said Larry Mays, chairman of the Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics. “The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” calls for $19 billion in expenditures to help with the computerization of health records by 2014.

“Estimates are that it will take at least 200,000 new health informatics support specialists to make this happen,” Mays said. “UNC Charlotte will be a leader in preparing students for what certainly will be one of the most important jobs for the healthcare community.”

The conversion to electronic medical records will improve healthcare quality, prevent medical errors, reduce healthcare costs, increase administrative efficiencies, decrease paperwork and expand access to affordable care.

“Computerized health records facilitate more timely access to patient information, leading to improvements in care and decreases in medication errors,” said Karen Schmaling, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “They also facilitate population-based health services research to investigate healthcare effectiveness and quality, which can be used to improve access and develop health policy.

“The timely development of this professional science master’s degree will complement our colleges’ expertise and existing degree programs, such as the Ph.D. program in health services research,” she said.

Both the College of Computing and Informatics and the College of Health and Human Services are soliciting input from informatics and healthcare professionals from around the Charlotte region to help develop the curriculum for the professional science master’s degree in health information technology. A certificate in healthcare information technology will be offered beginning in the fall of 2009

About The College of Computing and Informatics
The College of Computing and Informatics provides academic programs in computer science, software and information systems, information technology, and bioinformatics. It is also the home to leading research centers and institutes, including the Center for Digital Identity and Cyber Defense Research, the Bioinformatics Research Center, the Charlotte Visualization Center, the Diversity in Information Technology Institute, the eBusiness Technology Institute, and the Software Solutions Lab.

About the College of Health and Human Services
The College of Health and Human Services is the fastest growing College at UNC Charlotte. The College is comprised of the Department of Kinesiology, the Department of Public Health Sciences, the Department of Social Work, and the School of Nursing. The College mission is focused on achieving excellence in teaching, research, and service.

About UNC Charlotte

A public research university, UNC Charlotte is the fourth largest campus among the 17 institutions of the University of North Carolina system. It is the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region, offering doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s programs. Fall 2008 enrollment was 23,300 students, including nearly 5,000 graduate students.

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Media Contact: Clark G. Curtis, 704.687.7983, clarkcurtis@uncc.edu




Colleges of Computing and Informatics and Health and Human Services Join Forces