CHIME sees vet IT program as model

July 26, 2014 in Medical Technology

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, with more than 1,400 CIO and IT team members, has released a case study that delves into the workings of a Rush University Medical Center initiative that gives veterans opportunities to become part of a healthcare IT workforce.

The EN-Abled Veterans Program provides six-month internships for veterans and their family members, offering training and work experience in healthcare information technology. The case study highlights some of the positive accomplishments of IT and CHIME members’ efforts to better serve their communities.

[See also: CIOs see value in mission-driven vets.]

Jaime Parent, associate CIO and vice president for IT operations at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, developed the program. Rush University Medical Center also hosts the Road Home Program, which provides support, counseling and health services for veterans and their families.

Parent developed a specific approach to offer IT training to veterans, which could lead to work in the healthcare IT field, recognizing that experience within the hospital setting is valuable for veterans because so many healthcare organizations need IT staff to implement electronic health records and other digital technologies.

As Parent sees it, more is involved than simply providing training. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder, and hundreds of thousands have returned from Gulf War battles with traumatic brain injuries. Anticipating these challenges and helping to equip veterans with a range of skills is at the heart of Rush’s EN-Abled Veterans Program, CHIME noted in a news release.

[See also: Rush matches vets with health IT work.]

The program provides vets with training on basic IT tasks that fit current needs at Rush. As participants continue in the program, they look for specific areas of IT that interest them for a career. Vets also receive assistance with their resumes and job-acquisition skills, which they typically have not needed in their military careers, Parent said in a statement.

“What we offer is an opportunity,” he added. “We don’t guarantee a job but offer a lot of flexibility and a lot of tools at their disposal. In the last two months of the program, veterans get assistance in improving their resumes and interviewing performance – skills that most veterans have not had to worry about in their lives in the military.”

CHIME is detailing the program so that the approach can be used by other healthcare organizations. Parent believes that other healthcare IT executives could adopt the program for use in their organizations, thus multiplying the effect of the Rush initiative and meeting two significant needs at once.

The case study can be accessed here.

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