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Northeastern University Launches Graduate Program Designed to Improve Health Care with Information Technology

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.healthinformatics.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.northeastern.edu.