The Daily Express

Owens Community College Health Technology Program Awarded Initial Accreditation

Committed to heightening academic programs available to the Northwest Ohio community, Owens Community College's Health Information Technology program recently was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). With this prestigious accreditation, Owens graduates now will have the opportunity to earn national certification as Registered Health Information Technicians.

"The selection of Owens Community College's Health Information Technology program to receive initial accreditation demonstrates the College's commitment to providing our students and area residents with quality higher education," said Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College. "By receiving this prestigious accreditation, Owens is continuing to meet the demand for registered health information technician professionals among Northwest Ohio's health care community."

Provost Unger added, "Owens Community College earning this accreditation is a credit to the hard work of the Health Information Technology Chair, Jill Buathier, and Health Technologies Division Dean, Janell Lang, and their dedication to Owens' mission of supporting the educational needs of our students."

Owens Community College is one of only nine educational institutions in Ohio to receive the prestigious accreditation from the CAAHEP. Initial Accreditation is awarded to health programs that meet the standards set forth by the CAAHEP and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Serving the health care industry, Owens' Health Technologies Division established the Health Information Technology associate degree program in Fall 2000. The 69 credit-hour program provides students with knowledge and skills in the areas of medicine, information management and computer technology. Individuals in this profession can be found applying their practical skills at hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, physician practices, home health care, hospice, information system vendors and insurance companies.

According to Jill Buathier, Owens Chair of the Health Information Technology Program, the rigorous accreditation process included an in-depth examination by the AHIMA Council on Accreditation. Areas analyzed included health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications and physical environment. "Each health program is required to use curriculum that provides professional course content, which is in accordance with CAAHEP standards," she said.

Buathier added, "Our College's Health Information Technology Program also had to complete an intensive self-study, collecting information relating to the educational program, administration, governance, resources and student outcomes," she said.

Upon completion of the self-study document, health officials from CAAHEP visited the College to verify the results of the self-study. Owens' Health Information Technology initial accreditation will be valid for three years.

"The significance of Owens Community College receiving initial accreditation allows Health Information Technology graduates to apply for the national qualifying examination in pursuit of their certification as Registered Health Information Technicians," Buathier said. "Receiving national certification will enable Owens graduates to pursue additional employment opportunities, which also is meeting the need for allied health care professionals at the same time."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities within the health information technology profession are expected to increase by more than 40 percent in the next six years, stated Buathier. "The significant increase in the needed health information technicians is attributed to the ever-increasing number of medical tests and procedures," she said.

"Registered health information technicians are crucial as the health care industry continues the development of a computer-based patient record systems and national health information infrastructure," Buathier said.

For more information about the College's Health Information Technology program, call (567) 661-7777 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7777.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students in Northwest Ohio. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 140 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.

(Posted 11/12/02)

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Last modified on: Tuesday, November 12, 2002
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