Duke Program to Stress Security

Informatics center to offer degrees, certificate One goal of Duke University's new health informatics program, which launches this fall, is to build awareness of information security and privacy issues among future IT leaders. That's the word from W. Ed Hammond, Ph.D., director of the new Duke Center for Health Informatics.

"Anyone who gets a degree will have an awareness of security and privacy issues," Hammond stresses. "It's an inherent part of informatics."

Perfect timing

The timing is right for creating a new health informatics program, the director says.

As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Medicare and Medicaid are making incentive payments available to hospitals and physicians to help defray part of the cost of implementing electronic health records. The HITECH Act within ARRA also provides funding for additional informatics training programs to help ensure organizations have the expertise to successfully role out EHRs.

Duke has several federal grant requests pending and is seeking funding from other sources as well, Hammond says.

Although every course in the new program will touch on information security, Duke also will offer a class entirely devoted to the subject, Hammond explains. The course will discuss infrastructure, policy, legal and technical issues, risk assessments, standards and a code of ethics, among other topics.

In addition to master's and doctorate degrees, Durham, N.C.-based Duke will offer a certificate in health informatics as well. "The certificate program is an opportunity to help solve the shortage of people trained to adequately implement IT," Hammond says.

Before launching the new program, Duke had been offering health informatics courses within its biomedical engineering department, where Hammond taught since 1967. The new program is a collaborative effort of the schools of medicine, nursing, business and engineering, among others.

A pioneer

Hammond is a well-known healthcare informatics pioneer. In addition to his teaching duties at Duke, Hammond was a driving force behind the formation of Health Level Seven, one of the most widely used data standards. He has chaired HL7 for three terms, most recently last year.

Hammond also is past president of the American Medical Informatics Association and the American College of Medical Informatics.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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