New Certificate Offers Healthcare IT Training for Growing Field

Healthcare management and information systems are flourishing disciplines that the Naveen Jindal School of Management is combining in a new certificate program intended to give students professional credentials in the growing field of healthcare information technology.

The beginning class in the three-course Healthcare Information Technology Certificate program teaches core concepts, such as how to identify and understand key data requirements related to patients and care in medical settings. A second course covers the use of analytical tools that can refine data to help in medical decision making.

Indranil Bardhan

Associate Professor Indranil Bardhan introduces new certification.

Indranil Bardhan, associate professor of Information Systems, said a key component of the program is hands-on training in Epic, a leading software for electronic medical records. The semester-long program that he created, Information Knowledge Management in Healthcare, includes a substantial lab-based component with guided electronic medical record exercises and assignments.

In researching the need for the certificate, Bardhan counted more than 70 hospitals in North Texas. “At any given time,” he said, “we found more than 100 open job listings in health IT in the DFW area.”

His findings align with federal government forecasts projecting strong job prospects for computer-related occupations, as well as for healthcare information technology jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor calculates a 22 percent growth rate in IT employment from 2010 through 2020, and it puts the growth rate for medical record specialists at 21 percent.

Even before the certificate program was approved this spring, Bardhan said several students were placed in jobs at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Health Resources, Baylor, and even Epic.

Open to graduate-level degree- and non-degree-seeking students, the certificate program “supports [the JSOM] goal of growing the number of graduates in healthcare management, especially in healthcare IT,” Bardhan said.

“We have focused quite a bit of resources on expanding research on healthcare IT, especially through joint research projects with UT Southwestern Medical Center and the DFW Hospital Council Education and Research Foundation,” he added.

Bardhan was principal investigator in two UT Southwestern Medical Center studies to develop predictive models for patient readmissions due to congestive heart failure. He will speak on his findings at the 2012 Patient Safety Summit, a two-day event that the DFW Hospital Council Foundation is hosting in mid-August.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].