September 27-28, 2001

ITEM 112-1501-R0901  Approval of Proposal to Establish an Associate of Applied Science Degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Care Informatics; Montana Tech of The University of Montana


THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana Tech of The University of Montana to establish an Associate of Applied Science Degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Care Informatics.


EXPLANATION: The health care industry increasingly needs professionals with the unique combination of clinical and computer science skills. Health Care Informatics, an emerging specialization in the health care industry, has joined the disciplines of information technology, communications, and health care. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the health care industry worldwide grows increasingly reliant upon technology and information management. This has resulted in a significant technology transfer gap between those professionals entrusted to provide clinical care and those who manage the complex information systems required to operate the health care system. This gap threatens the effective and efficient management of health care information surrounding the patient. This multi-entry/exit degree will result in skilled and trained professionals who can facilitate the transfer and interpretation of patient information to enhance the quality of health care. A.A.S. graduates will enter the workforce as Health Care Informatics Technicians, while B.S. graduates will enter as Health Care Informaticists. Montana Tech expects to attract nationally competitive undergraduate students into this program.

Currently, students can take Nursing Informatics, Bioinformatics, and Medical Informatics degree programs at the Master of Science level. No known programs exist nationally in Health Care Informatics at either the associate or bachelor levels. This program has resulted in cooperation with St. James Healthcare in Butte and will serve as a cornerstone program of the National Center for Health Care Informatics, once established.

The completed signature page resides on file at the Presidents Office, The University of Montana-Missoula.