Webinar Explores Accreditation for Online Programs

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE

A CAHME webinar last week explored an area of growing interest and importance, as institutions of higher education pursue innovation through internet-based learning. Based on analysis of IPEDS data for master’s degrees in health management, the HSM Leadership Center at Rush University found that, between 2013 and 2017, distance learning graduates increased by 119 percent, while traditional degree graduates increased by 9 percent. More than one third of all master’s in healthcare management graduates are now from online programs.

This trend surely will continue as universities look to expand opportunities for students and professionals seeking to advance in healthcare administration careers. CAHME began offering accreditation to fully online programs in 2015 and since then has accredited several online programs.

Recognizing that the technology for online learning continues to advance, in May 2018 the CAHME Board removed the requirement for 120 hours of synchronous (live) instructor/student engagement.  After rigorous research involving program directors, students, and practitioners, the Board determined that the achievement of competencies (outcomes) is the critical factor for accreditation. The Board reinforced CAHME’s mission and seeks to ensure that accreditation for online programs is as rigorous as accreditation for traditional residential programs.

Pursuing CAHME Accreditation for an Online Program: Lessons from the Field explored how programs can meet CAHME criteria and standards. Held in cooperation with the AUPHA Online Program Directors Forum, the one-hour webinar featured a panel presentation and Q&A with seasoned program directors of three CAHME accredited online programs.

The panelists included Anne Hewitt, PhD, MHA, Program Director and Associate Professor from Seton Hall University; Dawn Oetjen, PhD, Associate Dean, Administration and Faculty Affairs at University of Central Florida; and Steven Szydlowski, DHA, Professor Graduate Health Administration Program Director from the University of Scranton. Moderators included Forum chair Carla Stebbins, PhD, of the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Chair-elect Eric Richardson, PhD, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

If you missed the webinar, you can hear the presentations and see the slides on our web site. We appreciate our colleagues at the AUPHA Online Program Directors Forum for their support in providing this information to CAHME-accredited programs.

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO
CAHME