FIU’s College of Business takes Lead in Healthcare Management and Information Programs

The College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU) has developed an ambitious agenda to provide healthcare management programs that meet the needs of students and healthcare executives interested in a broad spectrum of managerial expertise. From general management and leadership to information and management systems, to healthcare compliance, to risk management…the College will provide a variety of educational and professional programs for students and managers to enhance skills and competencies required for career advancement in the field.

Dr. Joyce J. Elam, Executive Dean, comments “FIU has developed a strong health focus that includes the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, plans for an ambulatory care center and partnerships with both the Florida Department of Health and the Miami-Dade Public Health Department. The College of Business is excited to join this effort and become a center of excellence in providing healthcare management programs.”

The College will begin offering a MBA in Healthcare Management in the Fall. This degree provides new focus and increased business expertise while building on the long history of graduate education in health services administration. Dr. Nancy Borkowski, Director of Healthcare Management Programs for the College, relates that the MBA in Healthcare Management was designed to “create an academic environment that focuses on the development of professionally prepared, ethical leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage our dynamic healthcare industry. The program emphasizes the practical applications of the concepts and theories of management and business within healthcare settings. In addition, we place particular emphasis on critical thinking, self-development, communication and teambuilding skills, problem-solving competence, and ethical leadership.”

Dr. Borkowski says the degree will be offered on weekends and in the community for the convenience of working students. She has already received numerous inquiries and “anticipates a talented and energetic cohort of students.” Fall 2010 will also unveil a Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management and a Certificate in Healthcare Compliance. A Risk Management Pre-licensing Healthcare Certificate Program will start in Spring. Dr. Borkowski is working with the College’s Executive and Professional Education division to offer a Physician Leadership Certificate, Business Skills for Public Health Managers and a Certificate in Meaningful Use of Healthcare Technology. An initial foray into global healthcare includes both research and an educational certificate in Healthcare Management with the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in the Dominican Republic.

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. Job opportunities in healthcare IT are estimated to increase by more than 200,000 over the next few years. To take advantage of these opportunities, individuals will need to be well versed in both information systems and the healthcare industry. The Department of Decision Sciences and Information Systems within the College, chaired by Dr. Christos Koulamas, is developing programs to meet these workforce needs. The Department plans a Master’s degree in Health Information and Management Systems as well as a Graduate Certificate. FIU will be the only university in the South Florida region to focus on healthcare information systems in both educational programs and research. Many department faculty are already conducting research in the field. In January, three students (two from Decision Sciences and one from Healthcare Management) received a grant from the Central and North Florida Health Information and Management Systems Society for a research project on Stakeholder Distrust as a Barrier to HIE Participation. The students will conduct this research under the supervision of Drs. Gloria Deckard and Monica Chiarini-Tremblay from the Department, and Dr. Borkowski. Duane Steward, CNFHIMSS HIE Co-Chair, stated that “With this grant, we are confident that the students at FIU, through investigative research and analysis, will be able to identify feasible strategies that can be implemented to help engage health care providers. The ultimate goal is to breakdown the barriers that exist relative to the adoption and participation of HIE, and instead start building a platform of trust in the use of electronic medical record data.” Last Fall, the Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MSMIS) program hosted a “Distinguished CIO Lunch and Learn, titled “Health Care Information Systems: Challenges and Cures,” which provided multiple perspectives on this and other pressing health information issues.

Poised to excel in healthcare management education and research, the College is developing a fast growing presence in the local healthcare community. Commitment to community partnerships is a core value of FIU’s healthcare initiatives. The College intends to broaden this commitment through engagement of both faculty and students.

Article by Gloria J. Deckard, Ph.D., and Monica Chiarini-Tremblay, Ph.D.

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