Is Nursing Anesthesia Right for you?

The Nurse Anesthesia (NA) program is a full-time, rigorous, and comprehensive 36-month program, which prepares registered nurses to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Students are given the opportunity to integrate classroom content with direct application of advanced techniques in the provision of anesthesia care to patients throughout the lifespan. Clinical skills are learned in a variety of environments, each of which offers experiences in the anesthetic management of specialized patient populations.

More about our program:

  • Prepares nurses to function in the role of certified registered nurse anesthetists.
  • 100% graduate employment rate.
  • 90% first-time certification exam pass rate.
  • 28 months, full-time study to degree.
  • Facilitates a direct access to faculty and advisors on a regular basis while enriching the academic experience.
  • Gain practical knowledge from faculty who bring significant clinical work experiences to the classroom experience.

Learn more about the program, and see if it’s right for you!

What’s the Deal with HIPAA?

Data breaches in health care organizations placing patient information at risk are increasingly common and have an estimated cost of over $2.2 million per occurrence.1In an effort to combat digital information from slipping through the cracks, the federal government crafted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)2  to protect patient privacy through enforcement of how health care organizations use, store and disclose information.

For health and human services students committed to comprehensive quality in patient care, health and safety, it’s important to understand the purpose of HIPAA laws and how they affect the operations of organizations. Qualified professionals, who have a clear understanding of the HIPPA privacy laws, are vital to improving HIPAA workflows and mitigating risks of data breaches.

The Basics of HIPAA

Patients have often encountered HIPAA whether they realize it or not; when they go to their health care provider’s office prior to an appointment and fill out their health history, they’ll be asked to read and sign several pages of forms. These forms may include HIPAA paperwork that outlines how their information may be shared within the organization.

HIPAA regulations include the Privacy Rule3 and the Security Rule.4 The Privacy Rule establishes protections  that set parameters on how providers use patient information and who they share it with. This rule also enables patients to request health record copies or make corrections to them in case of errors. The Security Rule outlines actual procedures on how to safeguard patient information. Procedures may include details on how or where information can be housed as well technological specifications for software protection.

Health care providers such as physicians, registered nurses, emergency medical technicians, and patient care coordinators must abide by HIPAA regulations2 to ensure quality patient care and privacy. Health plans and third party organizations that process patient health information are also bound to compliance.

HIPAA’s Influence on the Health Care Industry

HIPAA regulations create a unique ripple effect in health care and public health. These federal rules are in place to harmonize privacy with access to quality care; the regulations protect patient privacy, but sharing information between providers from different organizations requires increased coordination with patients and facilities to ensure consent. For clinicians, students, scientists and other professionals involved in health care, research is vital as a cornerstone to improving patient care outcomes and the effective use of technology.

HIPAA’s impact on research can present obstacles to participant recruitment, diversity in study participants, access to data and the completion of studies. These challenges may directly increase the amount of funding needed for research.5

In many cases, HIPAA can work to directly benefit the workplace by boosting the responsibility and transparency of health information management. Digital paper trails can determine who views patient records, tracks changes, or updates information.

HIPAA also enhances integrity of a health care facility’s business practices by enforcing data access restrictions, which limits liability. Strong password enforcement is another key feature of HIPAA’s security measures, which can cut back on sensitive data access from inside and outside of a health care organization.

Regulations require the implementation of data backup strategies and malware protection parameters. Cyber breaches cost the industry up to $6.2 billion in losses, 1 so protection augmented by HIPAA can reduce a facility’s overall cost of operation, and prevent loss or tampering of patient records.

HIPAA’s physical security requirements, which include details regarding camera surveillance, securely locked doors, identification badges and power loss contingency help organizations implement the extra layers of protection they need to ward off data breaches.

The Role of HIPAA for Health Informatics Jobs

While the HIPPA privacy rules protect sensitive information regarding patient health and care, rules do permit certain authorities to disclose protected information without authorization to protect the health of individuals and populations.6 Examples of situations where disclosing information may be critical include child abuse or neglect, persons at risk of contracting or spreading disease and medical surveillance related to workplace injuries.

Cultivate Solutions for the Health of Your Community with an Online MSHI Degree

The University of Scranton’s Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) program offers a curriculum developed to teach students the skills to protect the health of individuals and communities through prevention and health education. The online MSHI program offers a flexible class schedule to accommodate working professionals who demonstrate leadership skills and to wish to advance their education and career.

Learn more about Health Informatics at The University of Scranton.


1 Ponemon Institute. (2016). The sixth annual benchmark study on privacy & security of health care data. Retrieved from http://www.cahiim.org/hi/aparprocess.html
2 U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n. d.). Health information privacy. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html
3 U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). The HIPAA Privacy Rule. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/index.html
4 U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). The Security Rule. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/security/index.html
5 U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health. (2007). Clinical Research and the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Retrieved from https://privacyruleandresearch.nih.gov/clin_research.asp
6 U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n. d.). Public health. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/public-health/index.html

Journey from Clinician to Administrator: Advancing in Healthcare Administration

Neel Pathak, an MHA graduate, has eight years of progressive management experience in diverse settings, including major health systems, healthcare associations, accrediting organizations, and academic institutions. He is a skilled clinician, an experienced administrator, and a strong advocate of initiatives in process excellence. He also serves as a Baldrige Examiner for state and national levels. His unconventional career path, he says, was shaped by earning his MHA degree online at The University of Scranton. Read on to learn how he’s impacted patient care on national and regional levels.

How did you decide on a career in the healthcare field?

I’ve had an interest in the healthcare field since high school. I’m originally from India and I spent a year and a half practicing as a clinician—a physical therapist. Though I loved being a clinician, I had an insider’s look at the management activities of the clinic. That sparked my interest to learn more about the business and delivery of healthcare. That interest motivated me to move to the United States to pursue a program in healthcare administration.

What made you choose The University of Scranton?

It was the combination of having all the right elements in one place. First, I wanted to attend a program that was strong academically and demanded an administrative residency or fellowship so I could gain more first-hand experience in the field. Second, I only looked at CAHME-accredited programs because I knew that meant the rigor, integrity, and quality of my education was ensured. I was able to have a phone interview with the program director, Dr. West, while I was still in India researching schools. He’s also a member of CAHME’s Board of Directors, so I knew I was talking to an extremely knowledgeable professor—and we really connected! I appreciated the personal and student-centric approach. It seemed like the perfect fit.

How did you find your residency/fellowship?

Scranton’s MHA program provided multiple resources early in the program that helped orient me with the residency/fellowship process. Current students in those phases spoke with us about their experiences. We were encouraged to join the American College of Healthcare Executives, which in turn offered seminars and education regarding fellowships. Faculty advisors were familiar with our goals and matched us with appropriate residency and fellowship opportunities. I knew these are very competitive and it was important to me to find the right option to better understand the healthcare delivery system in its entirety, from strategy to operations and front-line management.

Where did you complete your residency?

I was selected for the Aramark Healthcare Administrative Fellowship and placed at OhioHealth, a health system headquartered in Columbus, OH. This was a unique opportunity to get exposure to two different organizations. Aramark sponsored the healthcare fellowship and the selected fellows were paired with a client organization. Aramark’s philosophy “Everything’s Connected” gave us a unique vantage point in understanding the day-to-day operations of a hospital or healthcare system from not just a practice management standpoint, but also from a service and patient-experience standpoint.

They selected five fellows from across the nation, and I was paired with the senior vice president of support services at OhioHealth. While I was there, I worked on projects in eight different hospitals. They included strategy development and planning for a new neuroscience building, quality and process improvement initiatives, physician-practice management projects, and revenue-cycle management initiatives, among others.

Throughout my fieldwork, I was able to attend industry conferences like the American College of Healthcare Executives Leadership Congress, the American Hospital Association’s Leadership Summit, and the National Association of Health Services Executives Conference.

Because of the unique fellowship structure, Aramark was also able to leverage other healthcare clients in their network to offer us unique observation opportunities at leading healthcare organizations like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, MD Anderson Cancer Institute, and Texas Children’s Hospital, among others.

How did you transition from an administrative fellow to a research/program specialist at the American Hospital Association?

I wanted to explore different settings in the healthcare industry and build upon my quality improvement experience. I got an opportunity with the American Hospital Association (AHA) in Chicago—they advocate for 5,000 hospitals and healthcare systems across the country.

I worked on The CUSP: STOP CAUTI project with Health Research and Educational Trust—the research arm of the AHA. The project specifically focused on reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections across the country.

We had a national team of experts who provided leadership and guidance on content. In addition, we worked with state hospital associations to get their buy-in and assist them in their journey to reduce hospital-acquired infections. We collected, analyzed, and reported the data on a national level to identify trends and assisted individual hospitals through their state’s hospital associations by sharing best practices.

I’m proud to report that we saw a significant reduction in hospital-acquired infections throughout the project, saving millions of lives and millions of dollars.

After the AHA, you took an opportunity with CAHME. What was that experience like?

Right after my time with AHA, an opportunity with the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) came along. While I was still a student, I worked with Dr. West on a small project with them. When I saw CAHME had a position open for a director of business and development, I knew it would be a great learning opportunity. And it was! CAHME taught me more about business development and I was proud that they ensure the future generations of healthcare leaders are training appropriately.

During my time at CAHME, we made our business processes more efficient by leveraging the right technologies and moving to a cloud-based environment. By using tools like Box, Salesforce, Office 365, and Constant Contact, we improved our day-to-day processes and provided better value for our programs.

This experience of improving quality on a national scale taught me a lot about teamwork and further fueled my passion for quality and process improvement. I launched a signature program—the CAHME Awards—which recognizes organizations that are going above and beyond meeting accreditation standards and are doing exceptionally well. The awards program is very successful and is sponsored by leading healthcare organizations like Modern Healthcare, Ascension, Cerner, Canon, and Baylor Scott & White Health.

The University of Scranton just won the CAHME CANON Award. Is that part of this project you worked on?

Yes! The full name of the award is Canon Solutions America Award for Sustainability in Healthcare Management Education and Practice. As its name suggests, the award serves to incorporate the ideals of sustainability in future healthcare leaders. It recognizes the significant influence of education programs in creating sustainable, inclusive, and socially responsible healthcare organizations. I’m very glad that Scranton won that award!

What do you do in your current role in Ambulatory Services Administration at the Johns Hopkins Hospital?

We have a state‐of‐the‐art outpatient center with over 60 clinics, providing 20 ancillary services, and serving about 650,000 patient visits annually. I’m a project administrator in the Ambulatory Services department. My role is to serve as an internal change-management consultant by planning, directing, and implementing projects to improve quality, operations, efficiency, access, delivery, and experience of care for ambulatory patients. We use innovative technologies and business-intelligence tools with Epic and Tableau to make data-driven decisions.

After my time with CAHME, I wanted to explore the ambulatory and practice management setting further. This opportunity with Johns Hopkins, which has been ranked the number one hospital in the country for more than 20 straight years, has been a dream come true in experience and learning.

Are there any projects that stand out in your experiences in ambulatory services administration?

I serve as the Patient Experience Lead for Ambulatory Services. At Johns Hopkins, we have a really strong focus on providing the best possible care in the best possible place. It is challenging to provide that seamless experience in a complex academic medical center environment.

We created an executive council to set goals and provide leadership and mentorship for all aspects of patient experience. We also created a coordinating committee—the working arm that digs deep into the patient-experience data points: Current processes and challenges, workflows, and sharing of best practices to improve care delivery and experience. We look at our scores and compare them to national benchmarks to see what’s working and what we can do to deliver a better experience.

We discuss these results with our clinical care teams to find opportunities for improvement together. We have gained a lot of traction on this and our clinics are highly engaged in this journey. I’m very proud of that.

It sounds like a lot of data and analytics go into your role. Was that something you learned in Scranton’s MHA program? Or is it more on-the-job learning?

There was a lot of emphasis on data in the program, beyond just understanding the foundation of data and finances. We focused on evidence-based decision-making in the MHA program. That being said, I think there are always skills and nuances you have to learn on the job. I’m a graduate of the Leadership and Excellence in Analytics and Data Science (LEADS) program at Johns Hopkins, which focuses on teaching professionals how to use data in their decision-making.

Congratulations on your appointment to the Baldrige Board of Examiners! How did you become involved with the Board?

I was first introduced to the Baldrige criteria while at the AHA. I talked to a few members who completed the examiner training and studied the Baldrige approach and criteria. What I liked about their approach is that it’s not prescriptive and not built for a specific health system with exactly 200 beds. It’s for anyone looking to improve their performance: A hospital, nonprofit, city, or small business. The Baldrige criteria can adapt to these unique situations.

I was selected for the state examiner role after my training opportunity. A few years later, I applied for the national level and became the national examiner.

I review applications for the Baldrige award—a prestigious presidential award that demands a very rigorous process. Baldrige is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Baldrige criteria encourages applicants to think about their processes and the results from an organizational viewpoint. This, in turn, stimulates conversations about improvement strategies.

How long do you serve as examiner?

The Baldrige examiner term is for one year. You need to reapply again to serve on the Board and go through the training.

You’ve had many high-level positions. Do you think your clinical background helped you get to where you are today?

Yes, it certainly helped! My clinical background coupled with administrative experiences helps me better understand operational issues. It leads to a better vantage point in decision-making. When I was treating patients, I made one-on-one decisions regarding their care. Now the decisions I make affect patients on a larger scale. I have to be mindful of that fact and ensure each decision I make is ultimately patient-centric.

What advice would you give someone looking to move up in the healthcare field, even without that clinical background?

First, you can still succeed in this field without having a clinical background. What you must have top of mind at all times is a focus on quality patient care. With that, you can achieve your goals.

My second piece of advice to anyone looking to advance in healthcare is don’t limit yourself. Take advantage of how broad and diverse the healthcare field is to understand the levels of patient care in multiple settings. There are hospitals, outpatient settings, nursing homes, insurance companies, retail clinics—the opportunities are endless, so branch out.

You’re now involved with current students as a mentor. How did that come about?

I remember when mentors helped shape and guide my decisions as a student. I want to ensure our current students have that same opportunity, and so I serve as an external/alumni mentor for many students in the Scranton MHA program.

We also created The University of Scranton MHA Alumni Society. I serve as one of the board officers and make sure we give back to the Scranton MHA program in as many ways as we can. We meet on a monthly basis and talk through how to improve relationships with current students and re-engage past alumni to better the program.

Connect with Neel Online on LinkedIn or Twitter!

Put Your Passion For Helping Patients To Work

Discover how you can manage healthcare processes, provide the best possible care, or build on a strong business background that helps a community of patients with The University of Scranton’s Master of Health Administration program today.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Scranton’s Beth Elias, Ph.D., MS, FHIMSS, Brings Health Informatics Expertise to Leading International Conference

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.”

Build Your Own Career in Health Informatics

Join Professor Elias with an MS in Health Informatics from The University of Scranton. Learn more here!

Health Informatics: A Lucrative Job Market

The Health Informatics Job Market: Lucrative and Robust

Health informatics is a robust, and growing, field at the nexus of healthcare and technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the field is projected to grow twice as quickly as overall employment through 2022, rising 22 percent.1 Demand, however, varies across the U.S.

States With the Most-Vibrant Health Informatics Job Growth

Job markets where demand for health informatics professionals is expanding quickly can be found in regions throughout the U.S., according to data from job market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies. Here’s a look at the areas with the most-vibrant job growth.

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Massachusetts, Connecticut and the District of Columbia have high concentrations of healthcare information technology companies that have contributed to strong job growth. Massachusetts has launched a private-public initiative to strengthen its reputation as a hub for healthcare IT innovation.2

Midwest.

In Michigan, Illinois and Missouri, institutions are engaged in cutting-edge research in informatics, while at the same time, job demand also is high in more-rural states, like South Dakota, which are innovating in areas such as telemedicine.

South.

Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia are the states that stand out in the South. Two examples of strong informatics activity in the region: Georgia is creating a statewide incubator,3  while Louisiana has established a network of more than 100 hospitals that share information on healthcare quality and population health measures.4

West.

A focus on informatics and health IT in California’s Silicon Valley is being echoed by innovative efforts to integrate healthcare data in Oregon5 and Arizona,6 two states with high job demand.

Salaries Are Far Above Average

Salaries in the health informatics field are excellent. The average salary for health informatics professionals nationwide is $88,000, according to Indeed.7 Some jobs, such as the medical coders required to comply with the new ICD-10 standards (with average salaries of up to $50,000), do not require advanced degrees. But the most-lucrative careers require specialized skills that come from a combination of clinical experience and specialized training in technology and business practices. The best-paying jobs include:

  • Health Data Standards Leads, average salary $156,000
  • Informatics Specialists, average salary $104,000
  • Nursing Informaticists, average salary $100,717
  • Clinical Informatics Managers, average salary $92,819
  • Senior Healthcare Informatics Analysts, average salary between $90,000 and $140,000
  • Clinical Analysts, average salary $68,823
  • Clinical Informatics Specialists, average salary $68,707
  • Health Informatics Specialists, average salary between $61,050 and $123,000

The Skills You Need

A Burning Glass analysis of job listings for the health informatics careers that require advanced degrees indicates that a broad range of high-level skills are in high demand, and these skills are generally obtained only with a graduate-level degree. Health informatics professionals should have some combination of these skills under their belt:

  • Data analysis
  • Business administration
  • Project management
  • Data management
  • Information systems
  • Business intelligence
  • Management consulting

Employers in the health informatics field also are looking for individuals who are good communicators, researchers and problem solvers.

The University of Scranton: At the Cutting Edge

The University of Scranton’s Master of Science in Health Informatics program is at the cutting edge of this emerging field. The program’s faculty includes top-tier professionals whose firsthand experience in solving complex healthcare problems can help you become the health informatics expert your organization needs.

To learn more about the Health Informatics program at The University of Scranton, click here.

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