Way of the future: Master’s degree in health information technology fills need in growing health care field

December 4, 2012

The Arnold School of Public Health and the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management are partners in a new degree program in health information technology.

The master’s in health information technology degree program will offer courses in the evenings, Saturdays and online. The partnership involves HRSM’s Information Technology Program (iIT) and the Arnold School’s Department of Health Services Policy and Management.

Enrollment in the health information technology classes is open to graduate students in other health programs, as well as unclassified graduate students.

“This advanced program takes an integrative approach to preparing graduates with both health care and information technology expertise,” said Dr. Brian J. Mihalik, HRSM dean. ““It fills a globally expanding need for producing highly qualified candidates entering the health information technology field, and by delivering this program jointly with the Arnold School of Public Health, it instantly puts USC on the national map for health information technology education.”

The program was established after the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in 2009. The legislation provides incentives to the medical community to fulfill the federal government’s goal to change patient’s paper records to electronic documents by 2014.

Dr. Betty Regan, director of USC’s Integrated Information Technology Program, said a large majority of the fastest growing jobs today involve information technology, especially in the health care field.

“South Carolina has been aggressive in promoting health information technology and health information exchanges with health sciences organizations throughout the state. With this new master’s in health-information technology program, we will be able to prepare top professionals to lead this growing industry in South Carolina and beyond,” Regan said.

Twenty-two of South Carolina’s 50 largest employers are health care companies. National labor statistics indicate that jobs in information technology will grow 45 percent by 2018; health care jobs are projected to grow by four million.

Dr. M. Mahmud Khan, chair of the Arnold School’s Department of Health Services Policy and Management, said, “The collaboration between the integrated information technology program of the College of HSRM and the health services policy and management department will help train hundreds of health information technology experts who will be at the forefront of using the technology for health sector development.”

Details about the master’s degree program in health information technology are available online at http://www.hrsm.sc.edu/iIT/graduate/mhit.html

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