The teaching materials, developed by five, four-year universities that make up the Curriculum Development Center Program, could pull double and even triple duty as frameworks for IT courses at the undergraduate and even the graduate level, according to Dr. Bill Hersh, professor and chairman of the medical informatics and clinical epidemiology department at Oregon Health & Science University, one of the five development center schools. The other four curriculum-development schools are University of Alabama at Birmingham, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Duke University. Oregon also works with ONC under a separate contract to serve as the National Training and Dissemination Center to help coordinate curriculum-development activities and to serve as a repository and dissemination point for the educational materials.
“If you're starting a new educational program or have an existing one, it just makes it easier because there is all this content already developed on all the topics you would expect,” Hersh said. The materials aren't for exclusive use by community colleges, Hersh said.
“We'll actually use some of this material in our graduate degree program,” he said. Johns Hopkins and Oregon collaborated to develop three components offing offering students hands-on lab work the VistA electronic health record system developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VistA package also is available at no cost.
That said, the materials don't represent a health IT degree program in a box. They'll need augmentation and application, Hersh said, noting that Charles Friedman, chief scientific officer at ONC, overseeing the government's IT workforce development effort, “always described it as a buffet.”
“If you're and educator, you go in and take the things you want and put into a course,” Hersh said. Educators have 8,800 Power Point slides and 125 hours of video from which to choose, he said. (See a video with Bill Hersh here.)
The materials are all available online at www.onc-ntdc.org or www.onc-ntdc.info.