Healthy Options

Jamestown Business College students wishing to seek a career in health information management now have an opportunity to receive training that will give them a competitive edge in their field of interest.

Recently, JBC announced the addition of health information management as a new option for students within its business administration degree program. According to David Conklin, JBC president, the option came about through a need among both students and the community.

“This is in response to what we see as a need in our community, and providing a benefit to our students who have chosen to go into the medical office arena,” Conklin said. “The reason that we started this new option was, first of all, many of our students were asking us about a bachelor’s degree in health information management. And, in looking at the community at large, we have a wonderful hospital in WCA and we have quite a few very strong quality medical facilities.

“With the changes that are going on in the healthcare industry, along with our national population aging, it appears there’s going to be quite a need for employees in the medical field; which is going to open up a lot of opportunities for our graduates at all levels,” he added.

The new option is an expansion of the medical programs offered by JBC, which also includes certification as a medical office assistant and administrative assistant at the associate degree level. Rosanne Johanson, vice president of JBC, said the success of the certification and associate degree programs resulted in the college’s decision to offer training in medical/doctor’s office management and compliance with changes in the medical field; while incorporating an emphasis on leadership and long-term care.

“Our bachelor’s degree graduates are really in a position to walk in and not only understand the positions at the lower levels, but they also have a strong curriculum that provides them with opportunities to perhaps manage some of these higher-end responsibilities,” Johanson said.

She said JBC is keeping its students abreast of changes in the medical community such as the introduction of electronic health records, and the introduction of ICD-10, a form of coding used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures, which is expected to take effect Oct. 1.

“Our area has so many smaller offices, and a lot of times those (health information management) functions can be combined, and our graduates would be able to fit a need on many different levels,” Johanson said.

According to Conklin, the courses offered under the health information management option are offered at night only. He said this is because students who receive their associate degree are then required to gain occupation in their field of study to obtain work experience that will work in synergy with the training they will receive at the bachelor’s degree level.

Stephanie Feneran is a JBC student who has followed this progression, and is now participating in the health information management option. Feneran said the training she received at the associate level made for a smooth transition into the job market, and she is now anticipating undertaking higher-level management duties at her workplace through completion of the health information management option.

“I’m learning how to not only work in the office setting, but to take charge of what I’m doing,” Feneran said. “As time goes on, I think more offices are going to need higher end management skills. I watch what my manager does in my office, and that is something I would love to get into. So, within five years I would love to be the manager of a medical office or on the administration of a hospital.”

In addition to the field-specific training JBC’s medical students receive, they are also exposed to JBC’s core curriculum of hard- and soft-skills training in an office setting. Conklin said this training is universal at JBC, and helps students to stand out in the job market.

“That’s part of what all of our career and leadership development is designed to do,” Conklin said. “It helps our graduates be recognized for their ability to advance and take charge, and it instills in them the ability to go out and be recognized.”