Health care IT continues to command attention in the national debate on health care reform as legislators evaluate how its broader use can curb costs and reduce errors.
A recent “Distinguished CIO Lunch and Learn, titled “Health Care Information Systems: Challenges and Cures,” hosted by the Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MSMIS) program at Florida International University (FIU) provided multiple perspectives on this pressing issue. An audience of more than 90—including Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam; students, alumni and faculty of the MSMIS program; and members of the Management Information Systems (MIS) Club—attended.
An expert panel featured president/CEO of CareCloud Albert Santalo (EMBA ’97); Jackson Memorial Hospital Medical Director Michael J. Sheehan; CIO of Our Kids of Miami-Dade and Monroe County, Inc. Patricia K. Smith; and senior vice president/CIO of Health Choice Network Alejandro M. Romillo. Monica Chiarini Tremblay, who teaches health information management and business intelligence courses in the College of Business Administration, moderated.
Panelists suggested that despite the benefits of using health information technology (HIT), lack of uniform standards and confidentiality concerns have inhibited its widespread adoption. Romillo, who helps lead a Florida network of community health centers, pointed out that health care is far behind industries such as banking in the use of technology to share information.
Future holds potential for HIT.
Attendees see “cloud computing”—which uses the web to share information—as the wave of the future because it eliminates barriers to health information exchange posed by today’s disparate computer platforms. The approach is being advanced by Santalo’s company, which is developing open-source software that will enable providers and patients to share information using their web browsers.
According to the panelists, employment prospects for IT professionals in health care are very encouraging, with new job growth expected to top 50,000 in the coming years.
“Our MSMIS students possess the skills that the speakers identified as being in high demand in health care—project management, systems analysis and design, and business intelligence—which is why events like this are so important as they consider career options,” Chiarini Tremblay said.