On Thursday, Oct. 25, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) gathered dozens of movers-and-shakers from the healthcare industry, local government and education realm for a roundtable discussion at the Willow Creek Center. She queried and listened to experts about workforce training issues in the implementation of health information technology (HIT).
“There are a lot of things I love about Oregon and it’s always great to be able go back to Washington, D.C., and talk about the great things we are doing here,” the Congresswoman told the group. “And one of those is our health care transformation and certainly HIT is a big part of that. I want to have a discussion of how I can, in a federal role, be of assistance as we are looking to fill these needs.”
With that impending health care transformation in Oregon, effective use of electronic health care records (EHRs) and HIT systems will be a vital component of coordinating care, she said. Training workers who develop and use HIT properly will help ensure that the transition to electronic systems is cost effective and promotes improvements in patient care.
“Health information technology is a growing field with the potential to create new family wage jobs in Oregon,” Bonamici said. “We need to make certain that our educational institutions are collaborating with technology development companies and medical providers so that students are prepared for available positions.”
Roundtable participants discussed how to prepare medical service providers to effectively use HIT systems and how to train technology developers to meet the needs of the medical industry. John Saito, dean of Allied Health at the Cascade Campus, threw in his two cents worth.
“We are trying to get health status information from every level of provider,” Saito said of PCC’s efforts. “The ground-level intelligence that we’re getting from these workers has been very critical. In developing these standards, from the community college perspective, we should not forget every individual that can contribute the necessary information in deciphering a patient’s symptom.”
In addition to Saito, on hand was a Who’s Who of local leaders: State Rep. Chris Harker; Carol Robinson, Administrator, Oregon Office of Health Information Technology; Bridget Barnes, Vice President & CIO, OHSU; Dawn Bonder, Director, OHITEC; Dr. Homer Chin, Associate Medical Director, Clinical Information Systems, Kaiser Permanente; Gary Coleman, Employment Specialist – Business & Computer Technologies, at the Sylvania Campus; Dr. Bill Hersh, Chair, Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, OHSU; Jo Isgrigg, Executive Director, Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute; Dr. John Kenagy, Senior Vice President & CIO, Legacy Health Systems; Kim Lamb, Executive Director, Oregon Health Network; Luis Machuca, President & CEO, Kryptiq; Sheila Meserschmidt, Director of Health Care Programs with CLIMB; Paul Wild, Business & Industry Workforce Training, Mt. Hood Community College; Scott Zacks, Workforce Development Chair, HIMSS Oregon; Sarah Tillery, PCC’s service-learning coordinator; and Tracy Zitzelberger, Administrative Director, Oregon Center for Aging & Technology.