Thirty-five students recently completed the six-month Electronic Health Records (EHR)/Health Information Training (HIT) Program, thanks to a stimulus grant from the federal government. Another 100 are currently enrolled. Prospective students may apply now for training session that will begin in January. Applications are available online at HITCareerMoves.org.
Applicants should have experience in a healthcare field or in information technology (IT). Current OCC students enrolled in a two-year Allied Health or IT degree program will also be considered.
The training prepares participants for emerging careers in electronic health technology and health information systems as hospitals, health care clinics and physicians’ offices join the rush to transfer unwieldy paper patient files in easy-to-access electronic records.
Graduates of OCC’s program have already reported positive results. Two landed full-time employment, while six others are getting on-the-job experience in internships. The college is also networking with health care providers to generate more employment and internship opportunities. Employers are eligible for a $1,500 payment for training new hires.
What Program Graduates Say:
Garrett Lacayo, Huntington Beach
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Garrett, who was hired in June as a Clinical Training Specialist by MemorialCare Health System. While he was working as a Radiology Tech Assistant at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, Garrett heard about the OCC training program at an Allied Health class he was taking at OCC. Electronic medical records are “green,” he explained. They use less paper and they are more efficient, eliminating the need for duplicate patient charts and duplicate medical tests, while they make it easy for doctors and health professionals to share information.
Tushar Mali, Riverside
With sales and technical experience as a systems engineer, along with software sales to nursing homes, training for a career in EHR made sense to Tushar. “It was a fantastic opportunity,” said Tushar, who now works as a Technical Support Specialist. If he hadn’t enrolled in the training program, Tushar said, “I wouldn’t have been exposed to this opportunity with MemorialCare.” He has praised the “impressive knowledge base” of program instructors.
Joe Leibrandt, Costa Mesa
Joe, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a degree in psychology, thought the EHR/HIT training program was a good fit for his experience in IT, healthcare and project management. He appreciates the networking opportunities the program provides. He found the coursework rigorous, but “very worthwhile.”
The whole concept of electronic recordkeeping “makes total sense to me,” said Joe, who has worked with computers for decades. “Mayo Clinic came up with medical charts in 1907, and they’ve basically not changed until now,” he added. “It lowers costs; everyone wins.”
In July, Joe began an internship as an EHR Project Coordinator with e2o, a healthcare services company that specializes in EHR solutions.
Oscar Tabije, Corona
With bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and nursing, combined with a master’s in business administration, Oscar wants to combine his knowledge of IT with his experience in healthcare and business management. He is completing an internship as a Project Coordinator with e2o, a healthcare services company that specializes in EHR solutions. “EHR enhances health care, because doctors, nurses, and other health team members can spend more time with patients,” Oscar explained.
Sharon Reichwien, Fountain Valley
Sharon, who has a Master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, worked for a decade as a software developer before she took time off to be a stay-at-home mom. Now she is returning to the workforce after 10 years. She also had experience in healthcare. Considering a possible career change, she had taken several Allied Health courses where she discovered this program. “I thought it would be a good transition in that the program marries healthcare and IT,” she said. She praised the program’s team-teaching approach. “Instructors did a good job of covering a wide range of curriculum–legislation, organization development, hardware and software.” In addition, her experience as an intern at MemorialCare hasn’t disappointed. “I have been given challenging work which utilizes my skills and abilities,” she said.
Orange Coast College is one of 14 community colleges in California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii selected to train students for careers in computerized health information systems as a part of a nationwide $70 million effort by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
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