The rate limiting step in the development, dissemination, and adoption of informatics technologies to the healthcare system is in large part due to the lack of enough individuals with expertise in this domain. It is therefore should be a source of considerable satisfaction (and some surprise) that among the first acts of the 111th U.S. Congress is likely to be a proposal that speaks to increasing the pool of informatics-trained professionals:
"The Secretary, in consultation with the Director of the National Science Foundation, shall provide assistance to institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) to establish or expand medical health informatics education programs, including certification, undergraduate, and masters degree programs, for both health care and information technology students to ensure the rapid and effective utilization and development of health information technologies (in the United States health care infrastructure).
Activities for which assistance may be provided .... may include the following: (1) Developing and revising curricula in medical health informatics and related disciplines. (2) Recruiting and retaining students to the program involved. (3) Acquiring equipment necessary for student instruction in these programs, including the installation of testbed networks for student use. (4) Establishing or enhancing bridge programs in the health informatics fields between community colleges and universities."
Then a lot of detail around mechanisms of support. Quite impressive.
Thanks to Joe Barillari for the tip.