AMIA receives $630K for global e-health training program

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The Rockefeller Foundation has awarded a $630,100 project support grant to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) to support the initial implementation of a global e-health training program in sub-Saharan Africa designed for primary care providers, technical staff and health policymakers.

The Rockefeller grant will support Health Informatics Building Blocks (HIBBs), a program developed by the Bethesda, Md.-based AMIA in which distance-learning supports clinical and health informatics training in low-resource countries where greater understanding and use of informatics and databases can enable better support of community care and public health services, according to the New York-based foundation.

According to the Rockefeller Foundation, this initiative will provide an infrastructure that enables an audience such as community health workers in developing countries to acquire skills and knowledge in informatics at little or no cost to indigenous institutions or individuals.

By the end of 2010, AMIA will introduce three HIBBs prototypes to test in partnership with sub-Saharan African organizations, the foundation stated.

Each informatics training module will provide e-health knowledge and skills for individuals in low-resource environments who are involved in:

  • Planning and implementing health-related information and technology systems and who make policy decisions about such systems;
  • People who use health IT (HIT) to provide healthcare and/or public health services; and
  • People who develop and manage HIT infrastructures for organizations. HIBBs are designed to be granular, modular, portable, reusable and adaptable.

According to the foundation, a typical HIBB will be one to four hours in length and will be made available for local organizations to help meet specific training needs. When technologically possible, HIBBs content may be offered via web streaming. They may also be offered on CDs or as software designed for handheld devices or mobile phones. Emphasis will be placed on development, implementation, maintenance, evolution and the use of EHRs and public health data reporting, according to the Rockefeller Foundation.