HIT Workforce Development in Rural-Serving Community Colleges

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2012
Project completed:
October 2015

Problem statement: Successful implementation of health information technology (HIT) in rural areas depends on the availability of a well-trained HIT workforce. Community colleges are key educational resources for producing this workforce, but there is little information on the number, distribution and types of HIT workforce development programs currently available to rural residents.

Relevance to Policy: Knowing the number and distribution of HIT workforce development programs in rural-serving community colleges, curricular characteristics, and factors that help them to reach rural student populations, are critical for meeting rural HIT implementation goals.

Aims: This study will: (1) describe trends in the number of students completing HIT programs in community colleges located near rural populations in the U.S.; (2) assess the extent to which these programs have incorporated, or plan to incorporate, components of the recently released community college curriculum by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) into their programs; and (3) identify factors that affect the ability of programs to reach rural student populations.

Research Plan: Community colleges with HIT/Medical Records programs within a one-hour drive of rural populations in the U.S. will be identified from the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which will also be used to describe trends in program completions (Aim 1). These programs will be surveyed to describe curriculum characteristics (Aim 2) and rural student access (Aim 3).


  • Access to Health Information Technology Training Programs at the Community College Level
    Policy Brief
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2015
    Successful implementation of health information technology (HIT) in rural areas depends on a well-trained HIT workforce, and community colleges are key in producing this workforce. This study examined HIT workforce development programs in community colleges to find their strengths and needs.