Wisconsin offers four-year HIM degrees online

MADISON, WI – A consortium of four University of Wisconsin campuses is offering a new online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology (HIMT) in an effort to address the state’s shortage of four-year degree holders in this field.

Students can receive their degrees through UW-Green Bay, UW-Parkside, and UW-Stevens Point. In addition, UW-La Crosse will contribute courses. Applications for fall 2012 are currently being accepted at himt.wisconsin.edu. It is the only HIMT degree in the UW System.

“This is a very timely degree, said David Schejbal, dean of the UW-Extension’s online and continuing education division. “The employment outlook is extremely positive for highly skilled professionals in the health information management and technology field,”

UW-Extension’s online and continuing education division coordinates the program.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase 20 percent by 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.

“Healthcare programs, electronic medical records and health information exchanges are growing in number, size and complexity,” said Jane Duckert, director of health information management at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. “Technological advancements require additional and expanded training for the profession. A degree program within Wisconsin will keep our state on the cutting edge of technology with its credentialed health information management professionals.”

The HIMT program offers two tracks to prepare students for careers in health information management and health information technology. The technology track prepares students for IT roles in the healthcare, health insurance and governmental fields. It’s the foundation for positions from health data analysis to insurance claims coordinator. The management track prepares students to be leaders in providing better patient care, administering computer information systems and managing patient information.

Online degree aimed at non-traditional students
Courses are fully online, and returning students who have already completed the first 60 credits of undergraduate work or have an associate degree can complete the program in as little as two years. The curriculum consists of 20 classes (60 total credits) and covers such topics as health and medical terminology, medical ethics, information technology in healthcare, health benefit plans and providers and leadership and change management in healthcare.

“This unique collaboration recognizes the state’s need to grow its pool of IT professionals,” said Dan McCarty, academic director at UW-Stevens Point. “Without the collaboration, one campus alone would not have had the resources to offer a degree like this.”

The HIMT program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information please visit himt.wisconsin.edu.