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INFO-B 584 Practicum in Health Information Technology

3 credits

  • Prerequisites: None
  • Delivery: Arranged
  • This course provides an opportunity for the learner to synthesize all previous coursework and to demonstrate beginning competency in Health Information Technology (HIT) applications. The course employs an application focus in which the learner demonstrates comprehension, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities within the context of a real-world environment.


During the practicum, the student will:

  • Function as an active participant in a professional health informatics role.
  • Identify strategies that can be used to manage information technology change.
  • Perform the leadership roles of communicator, systems thinker, and decision-maker within a health care organization.
  • Identify health and information science theory used in the practice settings.
  • Analyze the health informatics leadership role in the delivery of clinical services across the health care enterprise.
  • Evaluate the organization’s use of health information systems to support data-driven decision-making.
  • Examine the extent that research guides health informatics practice.

What to expect

The student will:

  • Work on-site in a HIT organization as a practicing HIT professional.
  • Identify and apply health informatics theories in a practical setting and practice his/her health informatics skills as a professional.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving skills and learn what is necessary to solve the challenge in HIT.
  • Complete the assigned tasks and submit deliverables identified at the initial phase of the practicum.
  • Complete the staggered assignment at his/her own pace.

Faculty will:

  • Assist student finding a practicum site
  • Evaluate the scope of practicum
  • Communicate with the preceptor to follow up on student’s performance
  • Evaluate the student’s practicum work

The preceptor will:

  • Discuss with the student expectations and objective for the practicum
  • Negotiate with the student to determine his/her scope of the practicum and deliverables
  • Lead, guide, and mentor the student during the practicum
  • Communicate with the faculty about the student’s performance
  • Evaluate the student

Practicum process

  1. Student identifies the practicum site he/she intends to work on and contacts the potential preceptor. Faculty may suggest sites for the student, but it is the student’s duty to reach out and choose the practicum site.
  2. Meet and discuss with preceptor to determine the scope of work during practicum
  3. Complete and submit forms that identify the practicum site and scope
  4. Faculty evaluation and approval of the practicum project
  5. Student works closely on site with preceptor/mentor during practicum.
  6. Student fulfills the practicum requirement and completes the staggered assignments
  7. On completion of the practicum, the student needs to obtain the evaluation from the preceptor and notify the instructor.

General practicum guidelines

Student’s role:

  • Develop health informatics practicum goals and objectives that articulate personal learning needs. Schedule faculty contact for discussion by the end of the first week of the semester.
  • Identify potential site and select a potential preceptor in consultation with course faculty, based on informatics practicum goals and objectives.
  • Schedule and complete an interview with potential preceptor agreed upon by the course faculty.

Negotiate the following for a final learning contract with your preceptor:

  • Prioritize objectives;
  • Approximate the number of hours needed to complete each objective;
  • Make changes in objectives based on the organizations and the preceptor’s specific needs, resources and constraints;
  • Identify the types of resources the student will need from the preceptor or agency for each objective, such as: regular meeting time for discussion; assistance in locating or gaining access to organizational resources; introduction to key members of the organization; others as needed.


  • Determine the method of evaluation for each objective, such as: student discussion with preceptor; student diaries or written reports to preceptor; student presentations to health care providers and/or preceptor.
  • Complete a project in collaboration with preceptor, including a formal presentation as part of the online practicum seminar and written analysis of the project;
  • Implement and complete student learning contract that includes passing evaluation by preceptor and faculty;
  • Notify course faculty of any problems developed during practicum related to completion of learning goals, with possible solutions or alternatives.

Faculty’s role:

  • Review the student’s initial goals and objectives.
  • Discuss potential practicum placement sites with students.
  • Provide syllabus and role expectation information to students and preceptors throughout practicum.
  • Assist in informatics practicum placements in conjunction with students as necessary.
  • Verify the site contracts if appropriate.
  • Review learning contracts and objectives during the first week of the informatics practicum semester.
  • Maintain contact with preceptor during practicum concerning student’s progress and visit sites as possible.
  • Problem-solve student/preceptor issues as appropriate.
  • Identify formal online presentation dates and formats.
  • Collect and review final student projects.
  • Collect evaluation forms from preceptors.

Preceptor’s role:

  • Interview the potential student preceptor
  • Review the student’s goals and objectives and revise as necessary to fit the needs, capabilities and constraints of the organization.
  • Negotiate the type of activity you will provide for the student concerning each objective (example: discussion of project or role for teaching or analysis; coordination to direct them to proper resources, supervision in terms of approving or guiding student’s work).
  • Negotiate the evaluation method, i.e., how the student will demonstrate competency (through regular discussion with preceptor, formal presentation to group, written report, etc.).
  • Complete written learning contract with student
  • Serve as role model, resource, and guide learning experiences for the student;
  • Negotiate student’s schedule for completion of practicum.
  • Evaluate student.
  • Communicate with course faculty regarding student’s performance during the practicum;
  • Provide ongoing feedback to student during practicum on progress toward completion of learning objectives;
  • Notify course faculty of any problems or concerns during the practicum;
  • Provide a written grade of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory for each student objective.
  • Note: If organizational barriers have prevented the student from completing one or more objectives, comments to that effect will be helpful.
  • Complete preceptor’s evaluation forms and return to course faculty.

Course requirements

Assignment 1. Self analysis and development of learning skill needs

Analyze your learning skill needs in each of the core competencies as defined in the JAMIA article March
2016 and the AAC Competency Framework, using the list skills below:

Interpersonal Skills

  • Leadership skill – the ability to inspire and motivate others, to sell your ideas to others, to negotiate, and build team spirit
  • Relationship skill – the ability to establish trusting relationships with others, to facilitate communication and cooperation, and to work with teams
  • Help skill – the ability to be sensitive to others, to aid others in gaining opportunities to grow, and to be self-aware

Information Skills

  • Sense-making skill – the ability to adapt, to change, to deal with new situations, and to define new strategies and solutions
  • Information-gathering skill – the ability to be sensitive to and aware of organizational events, to listen with an open mind, and to develop and use various sources for receiving and sharing information
  • Information analysis skill – the ability to assimilate information from various sources, to derive meaning and to translate specialized information for general communication and use

Analytical Skills

  • Theory skill – the ability to adopt a larger perspective, to conceptualize, to integrate ideas into system or theories, and to use models or theories to forecast trends
  • Quantitative skill – the ability to use quantitative tools to analyze and solve problems, and to derive meaning from quantitative reports
  • Technology skill – the ability to use computers and computer networks to analyze data and organize information, and to build computer models or simulations

Behavioral Skills

  • Goal-setting skill – the ability to establish work standards, to monitor and evaluate progress toward goals, and to make decisions based on cost-benefits
  • Action skill – the ability to commit to objectives, to meet deadlines, to be persistent, and to be efficient
  • Initiative skill – the ability to seek out and take advantage of opportunities, to take risks, and to make things happen

Identification of strengths and developmental needs in each of these areas with an action plan for improving skill development is expected. The self-analysis is to be shared with the preceptor as a way to communicate your strengths as well as to structure your learning experiences.

Assignment 2. Organizational Assessment or Gap Analysis

25% of final grade
Due date: Any time second half of practicum, but before end of practicum

The purpose of this assignment is to increase your ability and skills related to assessing an organization’s current state of excellence related to Health Information Technology (HIT). Through this assignment, the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and the relationships between the various organizational units and the HIT implementation are identified. Use the Baldrige Excellence Builder to structure your paper. Use APA guidelines to format your paper. A minimum of 10 references are required. Limit the paper to 20 pages including references.

Assignment 3. Agency project

35% of final grade
The student, preceptor, and faculty negotiate a HIT project that will help the student integrate needed learning skills in a project useful to the agency. The project is conducted and submitted according to agency requirements. A copy of the project is submitted to the faculty. In addition, submit to faculty in a 3-page paper the following:

  • Abstract/outline of the project
  • Analysis of the project experience
  • References used to support the project

Assignment 4. Periodic Diary

5% of final grade
Due Date: No later than 2 days after each practicum session

Focus on your experience of every practicum session. A practicum session is defined as a set of continuous activities related to a certain task or observation.


Please provide your mentor/preceptor the evaluation form to be completed the last day of your practicum. You will not receive a grade for the practicum until the evaluation form is submitted.