This February, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference convened in Orlando, Florida, bringing together 40,000 health information and technology professionals from more than 90 countries to discuss, debate, and co-invent the future of health information management.
Health professionals, corporate executives, technologists, and market suppliers met, networked, and listened to leaders in the field discuss what’s next.
This year, The University of Scranton’s own Beth Elias, Ph.D., MS, FHIMSS, a faculty member in the health informatics program, was invited to speak as part of the prestigious “Views from the Top” sessions at HIMSS, a collection of educational sessions from those considered high-level leaders in the field. Elias became a HIMSS Fellow in 2018, but has been involved with the organization for many years.
“It is such an honor to be recognized for my contributions to the organization and to Health Informatics,” she says. “HIMSS is truly an interprofessional and interdisciplinary organization that welcomes everyone.”
Standards across borders
In her role with The University of Scranton, Elias shares her healthcare technology expertise with students in the Master of Science in Health Informatics program, but at HIMSS19, Elias spoke of an international effort to set high and consistent standards for the education of health informaticians across international borders.
“We must ensure we are preparing students who will be able to serve as effective health informaticians when they graduate,” says Elias, who alongside co-presenter Dr. Ursula Hübner, shared results of their work.
The project, known as the TIGER (Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform) International Competency Synthesis Project, began in 2015 when the organizers started collecting case studies and survey input from around the world, as part of an effort to understand the current state of educational competency standards.
Bringing it back to Scranton
After two years as a committee member on the project, Elias’s role expanded in 2017 to serve as national co-chair, where she worked with a team of representatives from 21 countries to standardize education. The end result: a robust framework that offers a structure for high-quality, consistent international standards while taking into differences across borders and cultures.
For Elias, her interest in this work comes from a desire to make the field stronger for everyone—including her students at The University of Scranton.
“Any work we do to understand how to better prepare students to be effective health informaticians helps our students stand out from others,” she says. “Projects like the International Competency Synthesis Project allow us to learn not only what we need to teach, but also informs us in the best methods.”
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