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March 28, 2010
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ASHIM: Health IT Jobs on the Rise

According to the findings of a survey by the Salt Lake City-based American Society of Health Informatics Managers (ASHIM), the majority of health professionals believe that between 50,000 and 200,000 new jobs will be created in health IT by 2015.

The survey, which was conducted in response to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which indicated a national deficit of qualified health IT workers, aimed to provide an early stage snapshot of the jobs activities taking place in the industry, says ASHIM.

Results also indicate that the hiring public is most interested in health IT professionals with both healthcare industry and IT experience, and that consultants and IT application trainers will fill most new positions, followed closely by new sales and technical IT positions.

Pritts Named First ONC Privacy Officer

The Health and Human Services Department (Washington) has named Joy Pritts, an assistant research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, as chief privacy officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The role was created as part of a reorganization designed to help the office meet its responsibilities under ARRA, according to ONC.

As chief privacy officer, Pritts will advise National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Blumenthal, on forming policies on privacy, security and data stewardship of electronic health data, it says. She will also coordinate similar efforts with other federal, state and regional agencies, as well as foreign countries.

Pritts has served on the Technical Advisory Panel for the multi-state Health Information Security and Privacy Collaborative, and is a member of the board of the National Governors Association's State Alliance for e-Health.

Petty Appointed CIO at Wellmont

Wellmont Health System, an eight-hospital system based in Kingsport, Tenn., has named Kent Petty, a military commander with extensive technology experience, as its vice president and CIO, it says.

Petty has been with the organization on a contract basis since August 2009, assisting with CPOE and EMR implementation projects. According to Wellmont, he plans to begin the conversion to CPOE at Hawkins County Memorial Hospital in October 2010 and have all other facilities on line by September 2011. He will also be focused on the regional exchange of medical information among healthcare providers, it says.

Previously, Petty worked for nine years as vice president of information technology for Marriott International, where he was accountable for the application services development and support strategy for all Marriott International business units.

A commander in the Navy Reserves, Petty is a graduate of George Mason University, and holds a master's degree in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

NHIN Launches Online Education Program

The Washington-based National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) has created a program designed to educate and engage health IT stakeholders on efforts to develop the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). The inaugural semester of “NHIN University” will feature a series of webinars designed to provide stakeholders with foundational knowledge about what the NHIN is, how it works, and the importance of providing a foundation for the safe and secure exchange of health information, it says.

The next class in the NHIN 100 series - Secure and Meaningful Exchange of Health Information over the Internet - will be held Tuesday, March 16 at 2 p.m. (EST). The class will be led by Douglas Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., acting director, Office of Standards and Interoperability, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), and associate professor of Biomedical Informatics at Arizona State University.

NHIN 103: Architectures for Health Information Exchange and their Use, will be offered in April, and will be taught by Richard Kernan, NHIN Specification Lead (Contractor), ONC. NHIN 104: The Trust Fabric of the NHIN: Making Exchange a Good Choice will be held in May. In addition, recorded webinars and class transcripts will also be available on the NeHC website.

CHIME Names Two New Fellows

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) of Ann Arbor, Mich., announced two new fellows: Pamela McNutt and Rick Schooler.

McNutt is senior vice president and CIO for Methodist Health System in Dallas. McNutt's experience in the field of healthcare information technology spans nearly 30 years, the last 18 of which have been in the role of CIO at Methodist. Prior to joining Methodist in 1993, she worked for Medicus/HBOC and Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. McNutt recently completed her term on the CHIME Board of Trustees. She is a member of the CHIME Advocacy Leadership Team and Policy Steering Committee. She also participated as a faculty member for the CHIME Healthcare CIO Boot Camp 2003-2006.

Schooler is senior vice president and CIO for Orlando Health in Florida, where he is responsible for information technology, telecommunications, clinical informatics, medical records, biomedical engineering, and purchasing and materials management. Prior to joining Orlando Health in 2001, he served as vice president & CIO at Central Georgia Health System and Director of Systems Integration at Methodist Hospital of Indiana. He was a member of the CHIME Board of Trustees from 2006-2008, where he also served as Chair. In 2008, Schooler earned CHIME's Innovator of the Year Award, for his leadership in employing IT to shorten the patient discharge process. Using computer-integrated telephony and interactive voice response technology, the newly automated process frees up nurses and saves money by creating bed space earlier in the day.

According to CHIME, it established the fellow program to honor and recognize members who have actively participated in the organization and who have made significant contributions to the healthcare IT field as a CIO.

Joint Commission Consults

The Joint Commission (Oak Brook, Ill.) has launched a new consulting service. The Commission says Joint Commission Resources (JCR), a not-for-profit affiliate of The Joint Commission, will provide an objective, expert evaluation of technology with a patient safety focus.

According to the group, its new service, Safe Adoption of Technology, aims to support the highest level of patient safety as JCR assists both hospitals and technology vendors in safely implementing technology through the integration of patient safety, informatics and clinical care expertise.

The key focus of the consulting service is the convergence of technology and clinical processes to support optimal patient care, it says. The Joint Commission claims the service can be applied at three critical phases of technology adoption:

  • Planning and selection - this includes decisions about functionality, introducing new technology, retiring or modifying old systems, creating an implementation timeline, practical sequencing, and involving key stakeholders in the process.

  • Design/build/implementation - JCR's consulting team assesses how the adoption plan is built, anticipates its impact throughout the organization, recommends safety enhancements, and highlights training needs.

  • Post implementation - after going live, there is still a need for troubleshooting, spotting unforeseen problems, creating medication management checklists for staff, and so forth.

Intel and Pitney Bowes Join Consortium

Santa Clara, Calif.-headquartered Intel Corp., and Stamford, Conn.-based Pitney Bowes have joined the Dossia Consortium. According to Cambridge, Mass.-based Dossia, the companies will now provide the Dossia Personal Health Record Platform to employees.

Dossia founders are cooperating to provide their employees with access to and control over their personal health information, with the goal of improving the health of their employees while controlling their healthcare spending, it touts. The founders group includes AT&T, Applied Materials, BP America, Cardinal Health, Intel, Pitney Bowes, Abraxis BioScience, Vanguard Health Systems, sanofi-aventis, and Walmart.

Dossia is a non-profit organization consisting of several large U.S. employers who have united under a common vision: to empower their employees to make smarter more informed decisions about their healthcare, it says. Dossia says, through the group companies will leverage their combined influence to break down barriers to health information, which will help drive consumer-initiated change.

Healthcare Informatics 2010 April;27(4):43-44


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