Improving the Health IT Workforce One Intern at a Time
Byline: Abel Kho, MD, Rochelle Tapping, MPPA, CHITREC; Kimberly Lynch
The Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (CHITREC) Internship Program offers interns a comprehensive and pragmatic view into the dynamic world of health information technology (health IT) that puts them at the forefront of the workforce. This includes meaningful use education, real project experience in a start-up minded organization, experience that is supportive and inclusive for the intern’s individual growth, team education and one-on-one mentoring.
CHITREC interns come from diverse backgrounds and work experiences, ranging from undergraduate college students, to well-trained IT professionals and even trained physicians interested in learning more about health IT.
While there are many intern success stories, we’ll share just a few:
One mid-career changer worked with CHITREC for quite some time, and then completed her internship at another Chicago university. She then went to a major Illinois health system, where she worked for roughly a year and is now the meaningful use program manager at a Chicago organization that works with community health centers. While with CHITREC, she helped create many educational materials we still use today, and she has since helped numerous providers achieve the meaningful use requirements.
Another CHITREC intern was placed at a community health center where she started out learning about their training program. After three months, she was hired as a full-time employee because the health center was so impressed with the work she had done in her short time as an intern.
And another said, “CHITREC has the best internship in terms of hands-on experience on ‘Meaningful Use’ of certified EHR and everything associated with it. I learned more from it than the training I received in [my formal training program] and without the internship I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
To date, 56 interns have completed the internship program, and of those, 32 have gone on to seek full-time employment. Of those seeking employment, 97 percent found full-time positions.
The CHITREC internship program has proven to be beneficial to staffing safety net and other healthcare organizations (28 percent), including Alliance of Chicago, ACCESS Community Health network, Chicago Family Health Center, Alivio Medical Center, Friend Family Health Center and Beloved Family Wellness Center. This is followed by vendor/consultants (25 percent), health & hospital systems (13 percent), academia (9 percent), small practices (9 percent), and other fields (13 percent). Several organizations contact CHITREC regularly to help them fill open job positions with current and past interns.
As more providers adopt EHRs and reach meaningful use, they are looking ahead to achieving further practice transformation. CHITREC interns and other health IT professionals contribute by supporting the changes that help make our patients and communities healthier.Back to News