New UW-L program helps health officials with changing info systems

March 26, 2013

Photo of Wen Kuang Wei in his office.

UW-L Information Systems Department Chair Kuang-Wei Wen has overseen development of an undergraduate minor in health information systems management. The minor is expected to help ease demand from medical clinics and public health departments needing employees with computer system skills for health-related professions.

A new program at UW-L aims to help ease demand from medical clinics and public health departments needing employees with up-to-date computer system skills for health-related professions.

The Information Systems Department has established an undergraduate minor in health information systems management (HISM). Students expected to take the program include business majors and those in health-related disciplines. The first class begins in fall 2013. It’s expected to attract about 25 students annually.

UW-L Information Systems Department Chair Kuang-Wei Wen says the new minor has evolved from an online four-year healthcare information management and technology degree coordinated through UW Extension. In that program, UW-L is part of a consortium that includes UW campuses in Green Bay, Parkside and Stevens Point.

Wen says the new minor utilizes the six courses offered at UW-L from that program and adds others to the minor that can be completed in two years. “We’ve built up the expertise in health information systems on our campus,” explains Wen. “The new minor is a program that is attractive to our students and good for the community.”

Continuous changes in federal healthcare regulations alter work that needs to be completed by health professionals — all via computer systems. Wen says the HISM minor provides pertinent, up-to-date health information systems knowledge. He expects students completing the minor to use information systems to manage medical practices, along with making clinical decisions to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

“We need to have a more comprehensive program for health workers so they don’t fall behind on new procedures,” Wen explains. “Students completing our new minor can walk into a healthcare setting and feel comfortable.”

Graduates of the new minor will become more proficient in healthcare information technology and be ready to join technology project teams in the healthcare industry, notes Wen. While the program won’t focus on producing electronic medical record or electronic health record coders, he expects the minor to increase students’ marketability.

A closer look at the HISM minor

Program strengths

The HISM minor provides rigorous coverage and training in the areas of project management and healthcare data communications — strengths highly desirable in today’s healthcare professions.

Program special features

By taking the elective courses students can choose to learn data-driven decision support systems that are highly relevant to clinical decision making and care planning. Or, students can gain deeper exposure to IT management that is essential to practice management.

Program length

The HISM minor program typically takes two years to complete. However, students carrying HP 250 or IS 220 credits into the program may fast-track completion. See sample paths through the program at: www.is.uwlax.edu.

To be considered for admission:

• Students must:

-complete and submit an application form, which can be picked up in the IS department office, 240 Wing, or downloaded from the IS website: www.is.uwlax.edu

-have a declared major.

-have a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA.

- fill out the application, attach a copy of your unofficial transcript and submit to the IS department.

• IS faculty will review applications and make admission decisions. Applicants will be notified of the admission by email.

• Admissions are subject to an annual space limitation set by the IS department.

For more information, visit www.uwlax.edu/is/hism.htm or contact the IS department in 240 Wing Technology Center at 785.6656.