Health Information Technology launched at SMC

As technology becomes more and more prevalent in the workplace, more classes are being created to fit this new climate. Health information technology is an upcoming example of this: a new tuition-free program being offered by the Santa Monica College Computer Science and Information Systems Department. All of the costs associated with the course, including books, are being funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, space is limited in the program, which requires an application process.

"We're really trying to recruit people with some IT or healthcare background and at this point it's a non for credit program. But hopefully we are going to take it to the Curriculum Committee and get it to be for credit," explained Wendy Demorst, the project manager of recruitment for the health IT program.

"People go through our training program and they end with a certificate as an implementation manager or a trainer," Demorst added.

A health IT trainer is someone who trains people how to use electronic health care records. A health IT project manager is someone who would "go out to the small clinics and doctors offices and oversee the whole installation process and implementation of electronic health records," Demorst added.

This means that doctor's offices and hospitals are moving from paper files to an electronic health record. There is a need for people to facilitate this change and that is why health information technology is becoming increasingly important, Demorst believes.

The program consists of four semesters, each six months long with eighty students graduating per semester. The first semester starts Sept. 27, and upon successful completion of the six-month period, students will receive a "certificate of achievement" as a health IT project manager or health IT trainer.

According to a report published by the California Health and Human Services, project managers are projected to earn between $62,300 and $99,680 and trainers could earn between $40,000 and $89,000,

This course is done entirely online with each semester made up of seven classes. The classes are about three to four weeks long which requires students to learn a lot of information at an accelerated pace. This means students applying should be motivated or have some kind of background knowledge.

According to Demorst, there are available spaces on this course for this semester, and any student interested in the program should contact her directly.