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King University News :: Health Informatics Program Available Fall 2014 for Greater Nashville Area

BRISTOL, Tenn., May 30, 2014 – King University is now accepting applications for its new degree program, Health Informatics, which will be offered beginning fall 2014 to the greater Nashville area in both on-ground and online formats through King’s Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) program.

Health Informatics is a discipline at the intersection of information technology, computer science, and health care, which involves the analyzing, designing, implementing, and evaluating of information to enhance health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.

“Our GPS program is tailored to reduce the challenges facing the adult learner. Time and access are often a barrier for adult students wanting to finish their degree,” said John King, vice president of Development and Enrollment Management for King University. “By taking classes either one night per week or online, working adults can earn their degree in Health Informatics in as little as 16 months. The Health Informatics program offers adults a high caliber undergraduate degree providing the skills necessary to become successful professionals in the health care information technology industry.”

Dr. Ljiljana Krizanac-Bengez is the associate professor of Health Sciences program coordinator of Health Informatics for King University’s School of Behavioral Health Sciences. Dr. Krizanac-Bengez said, “The Health Informatics baccalaureate degree program is ideal for students who have an associate degree or experience in health, science, or IT related fields of study. The program is a very good fit for the Nashville area, which is often referred to as the silicon valley of health care. Our hope is the program will have a direct, positive impact on health outcomes - outcomes which may be enriched through improved communication, analysis and management of data, and relations with health care providers and IT professionals.”

In 2011, the Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Technology Council, and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce presented a report titled, “Strategies to Address the Health Care Information Technology Workforce Shortage.” The article aimed to “define the Health Care Information Technology (HIT) sector, quantify the current workforce shortage, outline its contributing factors, and provide strategies that local economies can use to address the shortage.”

According to the report, “HIT utilization has primarily been spurred by the government incentives, most recently including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. Through these measures federal stimulus money has been made available for electronic medical records, online quality reporting, and other technologies.” The report also states “it is critical for the industry to rapidly adopt HIT if the United States is to reduce health care costs, increase efficiency, and ultimately improve the effectiveness of care.”

Dr. Mark Overbay serves as the dean for the School of Behavioral and Health Science and interim dean for the School of Applied Science and Technology at King University. Dr. Overbay said, “The Health Informatics degree program was specifically designed with the Nashville region in mind, to assist with labor force needs in the greater Nashville area. The HIT report noted there will be an estimated 5,000 jobs needed in the Nashville sector during 2014 to satisfy the demand for positions in the HIT industry.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator estimated the nationwide HIT workforce shortage at 50,000 jobs by 2015.

“We hope our students will be not only academically curious but also be critical thinkers, learn to analyze, and become familiar with working in a team environment. These are all skillsets that are helpful for modern health informaticians, and necessary to become successful in the workplace,” commented Dr. Overbay. “The training provided through King’s Health Informatics degree program will elevate the student’s knowledge base, so the student can adapt easily into any health related industry and become successful.”

A degree in Health Informatics would open the door to a vast array of career possibilities including nursing informatics, medical informatics, pharmaceutical informatics, clinical informatics, public health informatics, consumer informatics, health information technology, and health information management. Examples of HIT in practice include: technical development of applications used by insurance companies; enterprise clinical systems design used by providers and health systems; clinical informatics used by clinicians and administrators to improve care outcomes; and telemedicine systems that change the care delivery model.

“King provides a learning experience in Nashville that allows students to receive training while working to provide for their families,” said Micah Crews, associate vice president of Enrollment Management for Operations and Analytics. “We are significantly impacting the adult population of the region by providing the student access to affordable high caliber degree programs that fit their schedules. These adults in turn will remain in the region, contribute to the economy, and raise the caliber of the workforce. This will have a positive impact on the Nashville sector’s economic and workforce development.”

For more information on King University’s Health Informatics degree program, contact King’s Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014,, or visit


King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.

King University’s campus serving the greater Nashville area is located 113 Seaboard Lane, Suite B-100, in Franklin, Tenn.