To meet the needs of area employers, West Virginia University at Parkersburg is developing a health informatics program. This innovative program fuses healthcare, information technology and business administration to prepare students for careers in the various segments of the healthcare industry.
Dr. S. Dianne Davis, associate professor for WVU Parkersburg, recently completed the Summer Teacher Training Institute for Health Informatics in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio Association of Career-Technical Superintendents presented the 10-day training program.
“We hope to develop health informatics as a collaborative program between the college and area career and technical centers,” said Dr. Rhonda Tracy, interim president for WVU Parkersburg. “The ultimate goal is to develop a career ladder that extends from the career centers to baccalaureate level programs.”
Developed by the Southern Regional Education Board, health informatics introduces students to the discipline through a series of authentic projects that merge information science, computer science and healthcare. Through real-world projects, students use technology, data analysis software and statistics to address a range of health-related topics.
Many careers are associated with this emerging field, which is expected to grow by more than 20 percent over the next eight years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. WVU Parkersburg is planning to collaborate with regional vocational centers to offer health informatics with the potential to add degree programs in health information management.