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2013 Health Information Management/Health Information Technology Regional Conference

The Health Information Management/Health Information Technology Northern Virginia Regional Conference was held on Thursday, May 23, at the Ernst Cultural Center at NOVA’s Annandale Campus. The day-long conference drew approximately 80 education and healthcare experts in the Health Information Management field.

The purpose of this conference was to explore the workforce needs and demand in Health Information Management, Health Information Systems, and Health Information Technology. Prior to the conference subject matter experts completed a survey of workforce needs and demand in this high growth industry. The results of the survey were shared by NOVA Medical Education Campus Provost, Brian Foley.

The conference offered a review of the HIT/HIM Bachelor’s degree programs at George Mason University by Janusz Wojtusiak, Health Informatics Program Coordinator, and Marymount University’s Health Information Management Director, Nick Rouse, as well as an overview of NOVA’s excellent Health Information Services Center for Excellence delivered by HIS Academic Program Manager Toni Mariani.

Aneesh Chopra, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States, offered keynote remarks. To highlight the importance of the intersection of technology and healthcare, Chopra noted that, when he was Va. Secretary of Technology, the Commonwealth of Virginia had the unfortunate distinction of being 31st in the United States in terms of infant mortality. The city of Harrisonburg, Virginia, he said had a huge number of pre-term labor deliveries. He was able to craft a grant-funded program that would “Skype in” an obstetrical specialist to work with the attending physician and the city saw a twenty-five percent reduction in pre-term deliveries. Unfortunately, this service will disappear in August 2013 because insurance companies will not pay a specialist to work with another physician via Skype. However, the program shows the critical importance of the marriage between healthcare and information technology.

He also discussed the importance of the “Blue Button Virginia” program. When Virginia’s medical providers were asked to talk with their patients about opting in to the Blue Button program (allowing their Medicare records to be shared with other healthcare providers), virtually all of the doctors agreed to present this option to their patients. This program helps to check quality control and improve healthcare.

Mat Kendall, director of the Office of Provider Adoption Support at the Office of the National Coordinator wrapped up the morning plenary.

In the afternoon sessions, attendees discussed six challenges of the profession—including defining the fields, necessary skillset and credentials required, preparing students, professional growth within the field and regional needs—and attempted to offer input to overcome these challenges.

Below are the powerpoints that were presented.

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