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Computer, software donation gives Talladega High students unique opportunity for career-readiness
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Sunday, August 23, 2015
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Computer, software donation gives Talladega High students unique opportunity for career-readiness

By Elsie Hodnett, Home Staff Writer, ehodnett@dailyhome.com | Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 5:28 pm

A Talladega High graduate is giving back to the school, offering health science students the unique opportunity to get ahead of the competition right out of school.

“We donated electronic health care record software that works in the real world every day for the students to learn,” said Kevin Smith, founder and CEO of TrainingWheel, a company that offers computer support to doctors, nurses and hospitals transitioning to electronic medical records, or EMR.

Smith, who graduated in 1993, spoke to the 14 students taking the certified patient care tech class at the school’s career tech center.

“This is something that will help you in ways you can’t imagine now,” he said. “This will broaden your job prospects when you graduate. And this is something many colleges don’t even have.”

Smith said three companies -- TrainingWheel; Napochi, an EMR company he co-founded with Roy Gomes; and WWISP, a broadband company that Gomes is president of -- worked together to provide six computers, desks and chairs, and approximately $25 million in software that students will use to learn both the health care and IT sides of EMR.

“This is an opportunity that no other high school students have at this time, and we are very excited,” said Amy Stephens, health science instructor at the Talladega High Career Tech Center.

Stephens said Smith approached her at the start of the school year.

“Last year, Kevin helped our robotics team and asked if we had a health science program, because he is in that field,” she said. “He had the vision where students would graduate with knowledge to immediately take the certification test and be employable.”

Stephens said she, Smith and career tech Director Trisha Turner are in the process of getting the Certified Associate in Healthcare Information & Management certification approved by the state Board of Education to provide it free-of-charge to the students.

Smith said the software, THISChart, is certified by the office of national compliance as meeting requirements for EMR under the Affordable Care Act.

“TrainingWheel is the only licensed provider for THISChart in the education field,” he said. “I have never heard of any high school doing this because systems are proprietary.”

Smith said in addition to textbook use, the students will be able to use THISChart to chart medical information during training scenarios and see how things work from the IT side as it would apply in the health care field.

“I ended up in this field in a roundabout way,” he said. “I was a staff sergeant in the Army and went through the Army practical nurse school.

“I was visiting Sylacauga in 2003 and was in a car accident. Then 10 days later, back in Texas, I was rear-ended by an ambulance.”

Smith said due to the back-to-back concussions, he worked in the IT side until he medically retired from the Army.

“I went to work for Cerner, where I was probably the only person working in their IT department without a college degree,” he said.

Smith then worked for University of Alabama at Birmingham’s IT department. Once again, he was probably the only one in the department without a college degree at that time.

“I started Perceptor, the forerunner to TrainingWheel, in 2006,” he said. “Now I travel and train doctors and nurses on software, and also provide support staff for system conversions.”

Smith said students who have an understanding of the IT side of EMRs will have a resume advantage even without a college degree.

He said Brett Thomas, who does IT for the school system, has helped get things set up for student use. Gomes is playing host to the program for a year at no cost.

“We know this works in a real-world setting, so we know it can work for high schools,” Smith said. “We hope to see good results and hope the program can expand in the high school and college setting.”

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

 

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