The University of Washington School of Nursing has entered into an agreement with SafeWare Inc., a Bellevue-based software company, to join a distance-learning cooperative to provide continuing education courses and related online services to health care professionals across the nation.
Under the agreement signed Monday, the school becomes an affiliate trustee of the Virtual Academy, SafeWare’s venture in health care education. School of Nursing faculty will provide curricular content for a variety of Web-based professional courses to be offered through the Virtual Academy to nurses and other health personnel at major health care providers throughout the United States.
Among the dozen providers initially expected to offer the online courses to their employees are Kaiser/Group Health, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Methodist Healthcare.
The School of Nursing sees its participation as an opportunity to expand the reach of its educational services through partnerships with private enterprise, making use of information technology.
“As the knowledge and skill required for health care services continue to grow, health care professionals need continuous training and education,” said Dr. Sue T. Hegyvary, dean of the School of Nursing. “We are very pleased to be a partner in this initiative to use computer-based technology to provide the best educational materials directly to the front lines of health care delivery.”
Content areas for the online courses initially will include such topics as health assessment, pain management, management of dementia, safety and regulatory requirements, and policy and financial information management.
“Our goals are to cut the costs involved in health care training and continuing education, and to improve patient-care outcomes by enhancing the quality of health care,” said Hegyvary.
According to Gregory E. Totonelly, executive vice president of SafeWare, the academy brings together health care providers and the academic community to provide high quality, cost-effective and easily accessible continuing education.
“We have challenged ourselves to become the premier distance-learning resource for improving health care outcomes,” said Totonelly. “Success requires a combination of visionary leadership, intellectual capital and educational know-how. The School of Nursing is a leader in every regard and we are delighted to have their participation.”
Under terms the agreement, the University can attain equity position in SafeWare, and will be compensated for its course development services and receive royalty revenue from sales of course software.