Many information technology professionals know that it has never been more important to stay current with the evolving HIT industry, but personal and professional commitments often times make it challenging to take this important step.
As the Director of Distance Education for HIMSS, I wanted to offer a solution to the ago-old quandary of “how to I squeeze more out of my day?” I believe the answer is distance education.
So what is distance education?
From a formal perspective, the United States Distance Learning Association defines it as “the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance” (United States Distance Education Association (2008). Retrieved from www.usdla.org).
This can take a variety of forms, from conference calls, live webinars, web-based courses or a combination of live and web-based (blended learning).
Before you get started, here are just a few benefits to consider in distance education:
- Flexibility to take courses at your leisure and at any time of day or night
- Self paced to learn at your comfort level
- Options to earn a full degree, become certified in a specific area or simply attend a class
- Time saved with no commute or hassles of parking
- Multiple styles to learn in a way that’s best for you, whether you are a “visual learner” or prefer a traditional “lecture style”
- Knowledgeable instructors who not only teach the latest in HIT, but do so in a way that’s practical and easy to apply professionally
In a March 26, 2010 article in US News and World Report on “Online Certificate Programs Offer a Fast Track to a New Career,” Kenneth Hartman, the academic director for Drexel University Online, states, “These certificates offer a fast track to a new career or an attractive way to specialize within a career. A person can start a new career once he or she gets the certificate, and then, continue to take part-time online classes toward a degree to become more marketable.”
If you agree with Mr. Hartman – that certificates can help specialize a career or start a new - then explore the certificate option for health IT…the online certificate course. Consider these benefits:
- You have the flexibility of finding the certificate program that is best for you.
- You can look at the time frame to get through the program versus your own schedule and goals.
- You can select a certificate with a topic of interest to YOU and to your employer…or to a future employer.
- And as I have mentioned here, you have the flexibility to learn when it works for you.
If you want to earn a degree, check out the virtual learning your local universities and colleges offer, as well as what your company and your professional associations provide.
If you have not done so already, visit the HIMSS eLearning Academy and the offered certificate of completion courses we offer. I have listed a few below.
- Project Management Essentials – The course emphasizes how project management principles can help healthcare informaticists successfully complete a variety of projects within a healthcare setting. The course is structured to follow the five process groups in sequence of an actual implementation as defined by the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). A combination of theory and application of the concepts discussed will be used based on actual case scenarios.
- Basics of Applied Clinical Decision Support – This course provides an introductory overview of the field of CDS and how it may be used to improve patient care. This course will cover the theory behind CDS and the application of that theory with real-life clinical examples.
- Selecting your EHR – This course outlines the key components to selecting an EHR for one’s practice. It is important for physicians to understand the process that must be taken in order to select the right EHR.
And – what is your experience with online learning? Please share your experiences with me here.