NEW BEDFORD, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to promoting advanced job training and health information technology, Governor Deval Patrick today visited New Bedford to meet with students and staff at Bristol Community College’s eHealth Career Center, which prepares students for careers in the growing field of health information technology.
“Massachusetts is a national leader in health care and home to some of the most innovative health technology companies in the world,” said Governor Patrick.

“Bristol Community College’s eHealth Career Center is on the cutting edge when it comes to training and motivating the next generation of health IT leaders. The young people I met today will play key roles in reducing health care costs and improving patient care using innovative technologies, many of which are developed right here in Massachusetts.”

Health care cost containment is a top priority for Governor Patrick in his second term, and the development and implementation of new technologies are vital to reducing costs and improving patient care. With strong support from the Governor, Massachusetts received $25.6 million in federal funding from ARRA to support the deployment of electronic medical records through a secure health information exchange network that safeguards patient privacy. Electronic records enable providers to have instant access to vital information about a patient’s lab results and medical history that may impact treatment decisions. These proven technologies help reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary or duplicative tests, reducing errors and improving health care decision-making.

“This program harnesses both innovative technologies and the abilities of young people, which will translate into better, more coordinated care for Massachusetts consumers,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, who chairs the Health Information Technology Council.

“Our community colleges play a critical role in preparing our students to enter the workforce with the skills necessary for professional success and to meet the needs of Massachusetts employers,” said Secretary of Education Paul Reville. “Bristol’s eHealth Career Center is a win-win, ensuring that Massachusetts students are able to take advantage of and lead a growing part of the state’s economy.”

“This program is already showing its promise and possibilities for our students,” said John J. Sbrega, Ph.D., President of Bristol Community College. “People who have dreamed of secure careers but who have not been able to fit an education around their responsibilities are coming to eHealth Careers to get started on a new life. The flexible scheduling and the online classes, along with the cutting-edge technology that we have been able to build into this new space, is leading the way in the state for healthcare education. We’ve been grateful for the Governor’s support since we first came up with this idea, and we’re proud that he can come by and see the results.”

The eHealth Career Center at Bristol Community College is a two-year health care education program that prepares students for careers in eHealth. The program’s courses provide students with practical medical and IT knowledge that will prepare them to work in a health care setting.

With the Patrick-Murray Administration and the federal government’s commitment to health information technology development, approximately 2,000 to 2,500 new jobs will be created in the field over the next four to five years.