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Mobile health training programs launched

“Mobile health” might be Maryland’s new favorite buzz phrase.

The health care technology industry has been exploding nationwide for years, but the growth of mobile health, also called mHealth, is a relatively newer trend.

To capitalize on the interest in mobile health apps, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is partnering with Howard Community College to offer training programs for a variety of groups — from high school students to veterans to professional clinicians.

The programs will provide instruction on the design and development of mobile health apps that could be used in multiple settings, including clinical management, primary care delivery and health care operations.

The Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) in UM’s business school is leading the initiative on behalf of the university. CHIDS and Howard Community College are also partnering with the Maryland HealthTech Coalition, an organization that works to promote health care technology in the Baltimore-Washington region.

“The use of mobile and other wireless technologies — such as smartphones, patient monitoring devices, and telehealth solutions — provide opportunities to improve patient engagement and population health management,” CHIDS Deputy Director Kenyon Crowley said in a statement.

“[These technologies] can extend patient care outside the traditional bounds of the clinic to the home and anywhere you take your mobile device.”

The new training program is a “Strategic Industry Partnership” funded by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation through the EARN initiative. EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) is a state-sponsored workforce development program to create new jobs in critical economic sectors and train potential employees.

“This EARN Maryland-funded, mHealth-focused partnership represents an opportunity to support the growth of an emerging industry in Maryland,” Maryland Labor Secretary Leonard Howie said in a statement.

The training is organized into three separate programs. Each is designed for a particular target audience and will be taught be industry experts or professors from HCC or UM.

The “Mobile Health Design and Development” course and the “Health Information Management and Operations” course are both geared toward students and professionals with some information technology experience. This includes military personnel transitioning back to civilian life.

The “Digital Health Strategy, Implementation and Operations” program is more selective. Ten insurance and health care executives will be invited to enroll in the program, which will help them develop and implement aspects of mobile health and telemedicine into their organizations.

The third course is the “Maryland Health Innovation Student Challenge: Empowering Patients and Providers with Creative + Usable Solutions.” The challenge will open in January to high school students, who will form teams to develop new apps and tools.

Students will present prototypes of their work at the Maryland Health IT Conference & Expo Day on June 4.