ONC’s New Free Health IT Course

ONC has recently released a set of free Healthcare IT courses. I haven’t had a chance to look over the courses myself, but I thought I’d share them with the larger Healthcare IT Today community to evaluate whether they’re worth the time or not. At least at the low price of free, it makes it much easier to get a return on your investment.

Here are the details of the free health IT course from ONC:

We have a number of courses to help health care providers and their office staff use and optimize the health IT tools they are using in their offices. The Health Informatics 101 course will help to enhance competencies in health information technology, particularly for the design, configuration, use, and maintenance of informatics interventions that can improve health care delivery.

The Health IT Foundations for IT Professionals Certificate Program is composed of three courses, each 11-12 weeks long. They include Healthcare Fundamentals, Health IT Data Standards, and Health IT Application.

The Health IT Foundations for Physician Practices program is designed to equip physician practices to help them meet Meaningful Use criteria and to increase staff capacity for the design, configuration, use, and maintenance of electronic health records systems

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Sorry John – this program appears to have strong similarities to the ONC’s Health IT Workforce HIT Pro Certification Program that began in September, 2010. Participants in the program then, were led to believe they would be qualified for the numerous jobs that would be available to be filled as a result of the ARRA HITECH Act. As a graduate certificate holder of the program I, along with many of my colleagues found the coursework to be very superficial, poorly constructed, and offered no opportunity for hands on system experience. Upon completion of the program, we found there were no professional associations or employers who knew anything about or recognized the program. Whatever jobs were/are available required direct experience AND certification with at least one of the major existing EHR/EMR systems. At the very least employer preferences are with those having minimum of 3-5 years’ clinical &/or IT systems experience. It was only many months after graduation and numerous complaints, the “certificate” we were awarded after passing a PearsonVUE test were our certificates given AHIMA recognition. This did/has not improve(d) our qualification to apply to any existing EMR/EHR jobs (entry level or other). AHIMA does not offer any assistance or guidance should we want to enhance our knowledge and professional positioning in this area. This is counter to what we were told during the class sessions.
    BOTTOM LINE: One does not have to look over this program directed at physician offices to determine its value prop. Based on my experience and many others in my program, this alleged “new” & “free” government-funded program is yet another waste of taxpayer dollars applied to healthcare. Similar to my experience, tt can be expected to provide ZERO return for the participants’ time and effort expended in good faith for professional enhancement. My suspicions these courses directed at medical practices are yet another flagrant waste of our taxes and will provide the same result from the same source (ONC) for the same investment of time and money (free or not). As someone one said – “there ain’t no free lunch” – caveat emptor.

  • I disagree. the things I learned in the original ONC program became invaluable when I did get a job. I found I was the only one who knew multiple taxonomies, health exchange standards and a slew of other things that were a direct result of the class. If all you wanted was some job doing EMR consulting for big bucks, then I agree, not so much. Try being committed to the industry and if you’re not find the next pet rock to market.

  • Thanks for the extra feedback and perspective Donna. That’s good to know that it helped you once you got the job even if it’s not as helpful at getting the job. Hopefully that extra knowledge will help you on the job to further advance your career.

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