вторник, 2 октября 2012 г.

Butte, Mont.-Area School Optimistic about Gaining Health-Care Degree. - Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

By Barbara LaBoe, The Montana Standard, Butte Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Oct. 4--Montana Tech officials are optimistic about their chances for a new health care 'informatics' degree program.

The program, in conjunction with St. James Healthcare, has made it through the toughest part of the Board of Regents' review. It is expected to be approved during the board's November meeting, said Ray Rogers, Tech's director of marketing and college relations.

'It looks good,' Rogers said. 'We're excited.'

No concerns were raised at the September regents' meeting, essentially clearing the way for final approval in November, Rogers said.

The informatics program is a combination of health care and technology training aimed at helping hospitals stay up-to-date and giving employees career advancement opportunities. Students are trained in medicine, but also learn how to run and analyze health care's high-tech machinery. Someone trained in informatics could run a computer search on the incidence of particular disease in an area, and would have the health-care training to analyze the data's implications.

As health care becomes more high tech, officials said, such training is desperately needed.

Tech has proposed an associate and bachelor degree program and training center, which they say will be the first of its kind in the nation. The program would be run through Tech, but located in a National Center for Health Care Informatics to be built next to the hospital. Hospital employees would be allowed to enroll in classes, and St. James also would offer scholarships to informatics students who agreed to join the hospital's employee pool.

Tech has yet to hear final word on federal funding for the center, but Rogers said what he has heard has been encouraging. The school and hospital have requested $800,000 to design and build the center. A decision could come next week.

Even if the center funding didn't happen this year, the instructional program would still begin next fall at Tech and its College of Technology campus, Rogers said.

The next regents' meeting is Nov. 15-16 in Bozeman.

To see more of The Montana Standard, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.mtstandard.com.

(c) 2001, The Montana Standard, Butte. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.