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USF Health is partnering with Bisk Education to offer a new online master’s degree  in Health Informatics, responding to the growing need for technology experts as the healthcare industry adopts electronic records.

“USF is proud to partner with Bisk to help drive innovation in healthcare,” said USF President Judy Genshaft, PhD. “There is a real need in today’s marketplace for employees who understand both healthcare and information science.”

The new program will fuse USF Health’s academic powers with Bisk’s online expertise. USF Health faculty members will teach the health informatics courses. Bisk will help adapt the USF Health’s traditional curriculum to an online environment with faculty-led video lectures and webcasts, online simulations, and real-time chat, group study, and discussion board tools.

Nathan Bisk, chairman and CEO of Bisk Education, founded the company, which is now one of the nation’s leading developers and marketers of alternative and distance education programs. He said he is looking forward to working with USF Health on the project.

“Health informatics is something that is sweeping the health industry – and it’s pioneering for a medical school to offer such a degree online,” he said. “There’s going to be a big demand for this program. The challenges the healthcare industry faces in converting to paperless operations will require a new breed of health professionals trained in the latest laws and technologies.”

USF Health already is a leader in moving the healthcare industry toward using electronic health records with PaperFree Florida, a $6 million federal grant program to help doctors learn how to use the technology, said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health.

“We’ve built USF Health around what’s going to be really obvious ten years from now and doing it today,” Dr. Klasko said. “What really brought us together is that Bisk has the same innovative values.”

According to Indeed.com, health information analysts earned an average of $81,000 in 2008, with a salary range of $34,000 to over $110,000.

Bisk designs high-quality educational courses by helping universities realize the potential for reaching students in an online environment, said Andrew B. Titen, president and chief operating officer of Bisk Education.

“We are all very excited about the new relationship with USF and look forward to launching this groundbreaking degree for a top tier research institution,” Titen said. “This is a partnership that will do many great things together.”

Students in the program could be Tampa Bay residents with career and family commitments that make it difficult for them to come to campus. But Bisk Education also will market the program worldwide, bringing students from far beyond Tampa Bay to learn from USF.

“We’re hoping this will lead to other degrees, which will extend USF’s reach worldwide,” Bisk said.

Courses for the 32-credit hour degree will start by May 2013.

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