The creation of the Health Informatics Technology Center is still in the planning stages.
DeKALB – NIU is planning to build a new, state-of-the-art Health Informatics Technology Center, which will allow for better training for students with future careers in healthcare professions.
The building, called the Health Informatics Technology Center, is a project meant to help unify disciplines and promote collaboration in healthcare and healthcare technology.
“Right now we have our programs in several different buildings,” said Lynda Ransdell, the dean of the Health and Human Science program, and member of the building’s planning committee. “(But) better healthcare typically occurs when you colocate (all healthcare professionals).”
Ransdell said the center will house healthcare and healthcare-related disciplines, including those in the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders. The building may also house those working towards careers in medical technology.
“We see this as an opportunity to bring together a lot of different entities on campus,” Ransdell said.
The Health Informatics Technology Center won’t only include students with futures in healthcare-related fields. Randsell said liberal arts students can have necessary skills needed to help train healthcare students, including assisting with simulations or music therapy.
“I really believe that (being transdisciplinary) is the best way to solve problems,” Randsell said. “Our future is transdisciplinary.”
NIU administration initially received a grant for $77 million in early 2020, which will be the total budget for the building. Currently, NIU is working with a $7.7 million budget for planning and designing the new Health Informatics Technology Center.
However, the building is still in its planning stages, and construction has not been started.
Ransdell said the current timeline for completion of the project is projected to be three to five years, with construction likely taking two years to complete.
The center will be located at the site of Lincoln Hall, in which student housing has been suspended since the Fall 2013 semester.
According to NIU Today, the new facility will be a “state-of-the-art” learning facility for students, including classrooms, labs and opportunities to conduct research. Randsell said that the building will also likely feature advanced healthcare technologies.
For Randsell, having these resources could mean better telehealth resources at NIU.
“One of the things we’re interested in on this campus is telehealth,” Ransdell said. “We could benefit from having this technology.”
Since the facility is still at the preliminary stages of planning, it is unknown exactly what kinds of healthcare technology will be available to the NIU community.
“We certainly are known for our contributions to online health, and this (facility) will help us improve and advance how we train students,” Ransdell said.
After the completion of the facility in coming years, the center will be a hub for healthcare research and learning for students across campus, bringing students from different healthcare fields together.
“This is such a great opportunity for (NIU’s) campus, students (and) faculty,” Ransdell said.