North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has launched a new grad­uate pro­gram to address a crit­ical shortage of workers in New Eng­land who can inte­grate tech­nology and data into health care, with the goal of improving out­comes for patients. The Master of Sci­ence in Health Infor­matics, which is cur­rently accepting appli­ca­tions for the fall 2007 semester, gives stu­dents the skills to design, develop, and sup­port infor­ma­tion tech­nology (IT) sys­tems that improve patient care, including:

  • Online prescribing systems that notify doctors of problems linked to prescriptions they order, based on evaluation of patient allergies and dosage amounts
  • Handheld devices that deliver medical records to doctors within seconds, giving them the information they need to provide optimal care to patients, regardless of time or location
  • Digital recordkeeping systems that allow neighboring healthcare facilities to share patient data, forming regional health information networks

Northeastern’s pro­gram was cre­ated with input from focus groups com­prised of top exec­u­tives from the Mass­a­chu­setts health care com­mu­nity. These exec­u­tives expressed an urgent need for workers pos­sessing back­grounds both in med­i­cine and tech­nology who could meet the state’s soaring demand for health care infor­matics specialists.

Rec­og­nizing the impor­tance of this inter­dis­ci­pli­nary skill-​​set, North­eastern will offer the degree jointly through its Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences and Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. The program’s cur­riculum will include labs, projects, and intern­ships that allow stu­dents to work with var­ious health care orga­ni­za­tions and sys­tems in the Greater Boston area.

”Physi­cians and hos­pital staff can’t do it all,” states Stanley Hochberg, MD, director of Northeastern’s pro­gram. “Well-​​designed and well-​​implemented tech­nolo­gies are urgently needed to sup­port health care providers seeking to improve patient care. Our pro­gram will work closely with Boston’s health care com­mu­nity to ensure we are giving pro­fes­sionals the training they need to con­tribute to this crit­ical agenda.”

Senior exec­u­tives from leading hos­pi­tals, health plans, and IT com­pa­nies will be heavily involved in teaching in the pro­gram. Courses will take place in the late after­noon and evening to accom­mo­date working pro­fes­sionals. The pro­gram has received numerous inquiries from pro­fes­sionals with back­grounds in nursing, phar­macy, tech­nology, and health policy.

The Master of Sci­ence in Health Infor­matics is accepting appli­ca­tions now. For more details about the pro­gram or the appli­ca­tion process, please visit www​.health​in​for​matics​.neu​.edu.

About the Program’s Director: Stanley Hochberg, MD brings exten­sive expe­ri­ence in health infor­matics to North­eastern. Dr. Hochberg has worked in senior roles in inte­grated delivery net­works and pri­vate tech­nology com­pa­nies over­seeing health­care data man­age­ment sys­tems. He has been a course director at Tufts Med­ical School for the past six years and speaks and con­sults nation­ally in the areas of health­care data analysis, health­care man­age­ment and quality improve­ment. He is a former Med­ical Director at Har­vard Pil­grim Health­care and a former board member of Mass­a­chu­setts Health Quality Partners.

About North­eastern: Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.