Certification of Professional Achievement Program in Health Information Technology

Applications are now OPEN for the HIT Certification Program 2024-25 Cohort.

Health Information Technology (HIT) is a national priority and promises to play a key role in improving healthcare delivery, reducing medical errors, improving care coordination and efficiency, engaging patients in their own health care, and serving public health.

The federal government is promoting HIT with incentives to adopt and use electronic health record systems nationally. As a consequence, the HIT field is rapidly growing. 

Challenges and opportunities in the field of Health IT are ever present as healthcare and technology advances, availability of information increases, and our healthcare system changes to be patient-centered with value-based care. The Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University is uniquely positioned to provide the experience, faculty, and resources to train the highly valued professionals essential to make a difference in the field. We have based our curriculum on the feedback of potential employers as well as our expertise in teaching the core knowledge base required in the field.

The Columbia University Health Information Technology Certification of Professional Achievement program provides students with the practical knowledge and skills required to implement HIT solutions in a variety of settings.   At the end of this program, successful trainees will have earned 12 points of Columbia University coursework and a Certification of Professional Achievement from the Department of Biomedical Informatics offered by the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

The Program: This two-semester, competency-based Certification of Professional Achievement program offers a conceptual framework, background knowledge, and workforce skills in Health Information Technology (HIT). Topics include workflow and requirements analysis, project management, implementation, leadership, teamwork, regulations, standards, usability, knowledge representation, information architecture, clinical decision support, patient engagement, clinical analytics, healthcare interoperability, security, and privacy. Supplemental lectures address potential knowledge gaps in computer science or health care.

In the interest of additional flexibility for our students, the format of the program changed recently. The program is now fully virtual, with full-day zoom sessions once per month on designated Fridays. The program consists of four three-point courses for a total of 12 points of graduate coursework through the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Two of the courses are taught in the fall term: HIFO M4010 Management of Health Information Technology, HIFO M4016 Skills in Management of Health Information Technology, and two of the courses are taught in the spring term: HIFO M4011 Methods in Health Information Technology, HIFO M4017 Skills in Methods in Health Information Technology. 

Although the curriculum is comprised of four separate courses, it is presented as one cohesive program. The program blends synchronous and asynchronous learning methods to maximize flexibility for the learners. Regular collaboration occurs between students, team members, and faculty. Self-guided materials are combined with team assignments, with teams selected to maximize professional diversity. Teams work on problem-based assignments in order to develop collaboration skills, a necessity for this multidisciplinary field. Students participate in monthly full day classes, weekly team meetings, and office hours. They complete weekly modules with independent learning and assessment as well as small and large individual and team assignments.

The curriculum is taught by a wealth of faculty experts, seasoned professionals, and alumni. Students are also mentored by program alumni. All work is centered on real-world problems in the field and applicability to careers in HIT. The class is designed to support exceptional students from a wide variety of backgrounds and is suitable for candidates new to the field as well as growth-oriented HIT professionals. Because of the students’ high level of preparation for the workforce, the program concludes with a career fair on the day of commencement.

Applying to the Certification of Professional Achievement in Health IT
Eligible candidates for the Health IT program must have at least a Bachelor’s Degree and training or experience in a related field (healthcare, public health, healthcare policy, health IT, IT, computer science, etc.).  You will be asked to provide a personal statement, your resume or CV, contact information for two recommenders, and all undergraduate and graduate transcripts on the application.

Admissions for the 2024-25 cohort are now open (click link below), and the application deadline is May 29, 2024.

You can also email official transcripts to hit@columbia.edu in advance of your application. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend a virtual open house to learn more about the program and on the application process. Please email hit@columbia.edu to be added to our mailing list so you can be kept up to date with admissions information or for any Health IT program inquiries.

For tuition information, please click here

The certification program is not approved for Federal Direct Loans. ONC funding, school, and departmental aid are not available for the program. If loans are needed to pay for this program, there are some private “alternative” loans that use creditworthiness as one of the criteria for loan approval.  You can find more information on the University’s Student Financial Services website.

Information on bills and payments (including by 3rd party) is available here.

For more information, please contact hit@columbia.edu.