When Aurora Health Care, Wisconsin's largest non-profit health network, needed to add to its staff in a hurry to implement its electronic health record system, it turned to some of "ONC's kids" for help.
Aurora approached Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to hire students for the project, Chitra Mohla, Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Community College Workforce Program, wrote in an ONC blog. MATC is one of 82 members of ONC's community college consortia that received funding to help students become HIT professionals.
Aurora ended up hiring 11 of MATC's students and recent graduates.
"In going through the interview and hiring process, we felt these MATC graduates had more than just the skills the job required, but also came from diverse backgrounds and had strong problem-solving faculties," said Russ Hinz, director of hospital deployments at Aurora Health Care.
The community colleges funded by ONC will help train more than 10,500 new health IT professionals by 2012.
The community college consortia initiative is just one of ONC's health IT workforce programs to help providers adopt and meaningfully use EHRs by increasing the number of HIT professionals in the country. The workforce program also has provided grants for additional college-level HIT training programs, the development of educational material, and an HIT competency exam program.