Student Comments and Reflections
EXCERPTS FROM REFLECTIONS:
Overall, I loved this experience and am so proud of the work that we accomplished. Being the inaugural class in something so new and complex, really showed everyone’s work ethic and determination. I loved my professors and coordinators. Most of all, I will cherish the friendships I made and the work that came out of them. K.A.
When I first told friends and family that I was going to attend a summer program they were confused on why I would want to go to summer school when I had just graduated. At the moment my response was, “because it seems interesting” and interesting it was. Although I had no idea what I was getting into at the beginning, I am very grateful I attended the program. I feel that the HIT program didn’t just open my eyes to whole new career possibilities, it showed me a bright future where healthcare can be improved and people’s lives can be enhanced. Even though my summer came and went and I spent it working hard, I am glad that I can say I was a part of the first graduating class of UT Austin’s summer HIT program. A.C.
Overall, I met so many wonderful mentors and professors during this program that cared so much about this subject and wanted to see us succeed. Dr. Field and Dr. Kneeland spent countless hours working on this program and investing time improving the program for the students. They were there every step of the way trying to give us exposure to the health information technology field. Each professor showed so much passion in the subject they taught and I appreciate their contributions to helping the students in learning the material. I gained experience not only in the health IT field but also in interpersonal skills. I truly feel that this was one of the most rewarding experiences and I’m so glad I was able to participate in the UT Health Information Technology Summer Certificate Program. K.C.
This summer has truly been a fast paced roller coaster where we started out not knowing what an EHR was to successfully presenting topics in Health IT to industry professionals. The opportunities and experiences I have gained this summer are truly irreplaceable and out of any of my friends, I don’t know anyone that has had anything remotely close to this program. I hope that this program continues to grow and being a graduate of the inaugural class I hope to impress as many people as possible once I begin my career in the healthcare industry. S.C.—
Even though the program required an extended amount of time into reading the articles and finishing the assignments, I believe that all was worth it in the end. From this program, I have learned that in order to enjoy what you do, you must always be honest with yourself and people. I would have never known that these nine weeks of fifteen hour coursework would have actually molded me into a completely different person. I truly am grateful for Dr. Field and everyone else that provided me an opportunity to learn from the speakers as well as the students that I was surrounded with. S.H.
The HIT program has truly been a rewarding experience as it has taught me valuable lessons on being successful in the professional workforce and has forced me to learn essential traits such as leadership, communication, diligence, and teamwork. I have undergone a tremendous amount of growth throughout this program as I feel much more prepared to venture into the career world. The program has been an amazing opportunity for me to challenge myself into learning something new and to expose myself into different viewpoints of healthcare, and I will forever be grateful for this experience no matter where it takes me. D.H.
Looking back at the experience at a whole, motivating myself to undergo this opportunity was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I feel prepared to enter the workforce as a health IT professional and can not wait to display the skills and knowledge that I have acquired through this extremely rewarding experience. I believe that there is amazing potential for healthcare savings and improving health outcomes of the population through health IT and will be at the front lines to prove my beliefs. This program was more than I ever have thought it could have been and I feel so blessed to have pursued this opportunity. R.R.
Overall, I think that the HIT Summer Certificate program was an outstanding experience. I obtained tremendous amounts of valuable knowledge that I feel will translate directly into the HIT workplace. I had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented faculty, leaders and supporters in the industry, and do so while making some great friends. The workload was intense, but I cannot imagine a better way to prepare a group of young students for the workforce. In a strange way, I wish that I could start it all over again tomorrow simply because I loved the experience as a whole.
I would like to extend a special thanks to all of the staff who worked days and nights to transform the program into what it was. They were outstanding and I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone whom I was able to meet along the way. I can’t wait to keep in touch with the students, staff and program as it progresses into the future. C.S.
Sitting in Brackenridge Hospital everyday learning about health information technology for the first nine weeks of the summer was the last thing I thought I would be doing about five months ago. At the time, I had barely any idea of what I wanted to do in the future, but I knew that I wanted to be involved in healthcare. I realized that I didn’t want to be a doctor, and I didn’t want to be stuck in a laboratory doing research all day. While looking into internship programs available for the summer, an e-mail that I had recently received caught my eye. At the time, this Health IT Summer Certificate Program didn’t make much sense to me, or to anyone I tried to explain it to, but I applied, interviewed and was accepted into something that has been one of the most challenging and inspiring experiences of my life.
After the first week of class I was asking myself, “Robert, what have you gotten yourself into?” The amount of information I had taken in was unbelievable and strangely exciting. I was actually interested and engaged in the discussions we had in class. In my opinion, one of the most amazing concepts was that over fifty students or recent graduates had decided that this was how they wanted to spend their first two months of summer. Soon after seeing this, I knew that this experience was going to be great. We had fifty people here who were genuinely interested in the subject matter and were not just taking some class in order to meet a pre-requisite or just to check off another box in their degree plan. The atmosphere of the classroom was different than any other I had experienced and the multiple in-class discussions about this young and growing industry was an extremely beneficial and enlightening way to gain a deeper understanding.
Once the first six weeks passed, I felt more than ready and prepared for the practicum. At the last minute, I reluctantly decided to go to Fort Worth and spend the practicum with Sandlot Solutions instead of staying in Austin. In all honesty, spending those eight days of practicum with Sandlot Solutions was one of the most eye-opening, educational, and meaningful experiences of my college career. Our mentor, Mr. Terry Richardson, was incredibly helpful and invested a lot of his time to ensure that we had a great practicum experience. Whether it was the numerous insightful discussions we had, or him taking time every morning just to meet with us and discuss our schedule for the day, he was always ready and willing to help us. Being able to sit in on meetings where I actually understood what was being discussed was a very rewarding experience. I saw that all we had been through in the previous six weeks could actually be translated into the real world. On the last day of practicum, my fellow intern, Eric Hames, and I gave the whole company a thirty minute presentation about what we had learned before the practicum and how much we had learned from them in just those eight days. Before this summer, that would have been the most terrifying experience of my life, but one of the key things we have learned throughout this process is how to present projects and speak confidently. Due to the interpersonal, presenting, and networking skills I have gained throughout this summer, this presentation was not even close to a daunting task and I was actually excited to show the visionaries at Sandlot Solutions what we had accomplished.
Deciding to spend my summer studying this revolutionary field was one of the most spontaneous and blind decisions I have ever made. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that very decision has shaped my future in a way that is beneficial to both me and society. Being able to influence healthcare through health IT is something that I look forward to after graduating from the University of Texas and I can’t wait to see what happens in this rapidly advancing industry. R.B.
Last April, I was getting ready to graduate with a biology degree and no idea of where to go next. When I got an e-mail about the Health Information Technology (HIT) Summer Certificate Program, I decided to apply as a back-up, in case I couldn’t find any research positions for the summer. During the group interview for the program, I participated with people who were extremely passionate about HIT and this summer program. Their enthusiasm was infectious, causing me to become interested in it as well. I decided to stop applying for research positions and to try the HIT Summer Certificate Program instead – how hard could it be?
Little did I know that I was about to enter into one of the most intensive summers of my life. Very quickly, we were introduced to the basics of an electronic health record (EHR), motivations for why a physician would want it, many papers describing how to implement EHRs successfully, and details about the US healthcare system. We had our first test on the second day - I was completely overwhelmed. However, as we moved into issues of clinic workflow, project management, policy, and how EHRs could help the US healthcare system, and details about the US healthcare system, I became passionate about HIT. I was still doing a lot of work for the program, but I didn’t mind because I saw how much I was learning. After seeing the value in all of the information that I had learned, I wanted to absorb as much as possible.
We then entered into a course about the specifics of HIT. We covered what makes EHRs usable, how HL7 standardizes messages, characteristics of clinical decision support systems and e-prescribing, and getting to see some of the top EHRs on the market. We saw demonstrations of some of the most common EHRs and had assignments where we got to work with the systems to register a patient, make an appointment, input vitals, enter symptoms, and order prescriptions and laboratory results. It was incredible to have the chance to work with those systems – in all likelihood, no matter which area of the industry I enter into, that knowledge will be an incredible tool. Not many people have the chance to interact with multiple EHRs. We also got to participate in workflow exercises while using and EHR. We dressed up as either doctors, nurses, patients, or office administrators, and went through clinic scenarios with the EHR. Of course, it took us ages to get through each scenario, but we learned that when a clinic implements an EHR, it takes time for it to improve workflow. At first, clinics have to see fewer patients. The workflow exercise was a fantastic way to fully understand the difficulty for a clinic of implementing an EHR.
The practicum experience was also incredible – I was with Sage, one of the EHR vendors. Everyone that I was introduced to was incredibly kind. I was absolutely amazed. M. and J. were fantastic mentors. They were completely honest with us about the industry and were mainly interested in helping us find out place within HIT. They introduced us to people from all over the industry in hopes that we would make connections to help us wherever we ended up. It would’ve taken me months to develop the relationships that I did over the course of the practicum.
The final week of the program was extremely beneficial to us. We made and presented posters to employers, had practice interviews, listened to recruiters from companies, and had networking events. The whole experience, although stressful, has greatly improved my chances for getting a job in this industry.
As the program started winding down, I became more and more convinced that HIT was the perfect industry for me. Coming from a scientific background, I always wanted to work in an industry that helped people. Now, by pure luck, I had stumbled upon one that I feel is absolutely critical in the transformation of healthcare. The most frightening thing that I learned was that the US healthcare system as it stands is unsustainable – it has to change to survive. HIT is the perfect driver to help that change. However, we still need to make sure the transformation is done correctly, or else we are just wasting money. That is where I want to come in – to help change healthcare correctly. M.D.
I first heard about the HIT summer certificate program through e-mail during the spring semester. Not really knowing much about health information technology, I was very intrigued about the possibility of learning more about it. I did not really know what to expect, but everything about this entire summer has far exceeded any expectations I had, and it is with great joy that I reflect on my experiences.
From the very beginning of the program, we were completely immersed in an intensive and demanding work schedule. The workload was at times difficult to manage, but I can honestly say that I learned more during those first few weeks of class than I thought was possible. From the fundamentals of health information technology to personalized medicine and health care reform, the curriculum was completely sufficient at touching on many different aspects of all that encompasses health information technology.
One part of the program that absolutely should not go unnoticed is the quality of the guest speakers that we were fortunate enough to have. It was very beneficial to see experts in the field of health information technology share their experiences with us, and their expertise greatly increased my knowledge and understanding of health information technology. In particular, Dr. Vince Fonseca did a wonderful job of explaining how health information technology and the benefits that stem from it can be applied to the future of public health in our country. I had never learned a great deal about public health before this summer program, and now it has become an area that I want to study a great deal about.
The most rewarding part of the program for me was without a doubt my practicum experience at Sandlot in Fort Worth. One of the great things about being at Sandlot was the way that I was allowed to have a sit-down interview with nearly every employee at the company. I can honestly say that people were completely floored by the amount of knowledge that I had about health information technology. Also, on the last day of my practicum, I had the privilege of doing a presentation on what I had learned for the entire company. It was so rewarding to see all of the hard work pay off, and my time spent at Sandlot greatly excites me about future employment opportunities.
In addition to the actual knowledge about health information technology that I have obtained this summer, I also am very thankful for the presentation and communication skills that I have developed as a result of many of the assignments that were given. Before this summer, I had rarely participated in any sort of assignment where I was required to present my work in front of a large group of people. I think that this is unfortunately common for students who are science majors at very large universities. This summer program gave me the opportunity to develop communication skills, and I now feel as though I am prepared for any situation that requires me to present my work in front of a large group of people.
The knowledge that I have obtained during this summer will always be of benefit to me, and I have also made some wonderful friendships that will remain for many years to come. I am so thankful for the wonderful experience I have had during this summer program, and I eagerly look forward to my future in the field of Health Information Technology. E.H.—
During my last semester of college, I started to worry about how I was going to find a decent job with a microbiology degree after graduation. Then in April, I found out that the College of Natural Sciences was recruiting for a Health Information Technology program. I thought that this program would be a great opportunity to secure a better job. Little did I know that after going through this program and learning so much that I would actually enjoy it and hope to get a job in the health IT.
Before the first day started, I thought that I had a decent understanding of the program. But as the first day came and went, I didn’t know the half of it. I had not realized the whole magnitude of this program and all that I was going to learn. The first day was full of acronyms and a summary of all the classes we were going to have. These classes consisted of applied health information management, fundamentals in health information technology, medical practice workflow, operational models in healthcare practice and a practicum in health information technology. From this day on, I knew what awaited me this summer. This was going to be a first-of-its-kind program that was challenging because it encompassed a well-rounded education. Upon completion, I was going to be prepared to transform the healthcare field into a system that utilized technology to better healthcare.
The parts of the program that were most impressive and my favorite were the speakers the program provided, the EHR systems we used and the practicum experience. The caliber of speakers that they recruited was exceptional and all of the speakers were great ambassadors for health IT. We had speakers that were heads of EHR companies, to speakers that worked in the field implementing EHRs to speakers that went to Washington to promote their causes. One of our speakers was Dr. Stearns. He worked for an EHR company and I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of the program’s dinners. He really helped me with interview questions from potential employers and made me feel more comfortable with the whole process of getting a job. Then, in getting the chance to work with six different electronic health record systems I feel like I can relate more to a physician’s practice when helping them implement an EHR. During the practicum we role played different positions in a doctor’s office and from this I feel I will understand the struggles and problems that the office will have in adopting an EHR system. Lastly, the practicum experience really helped put the preaching from all of our professors into practice. We witnessed what the corporate world was like and all the things that need to get done in order to make an EHR implementation successful from start to finish. I went with one employee from my practicum site into a physician’s office for an assessment of that office before being implemented with an EHR. The contract was gone over with the doctor and the technology in his practice was looked at to see if it could handle the system.
In the end, I am glad that I decided to be up for the challenge in going through this program. Not only did I get a better understanding of the healthcare industry but now I know that with the industry that I will soon enter, I can make a difference and better that industry. H.M.—
ARRA? HITECH? EHR? I had no idea what these acronyms had to do with healthcare. When I was applying for the summer long Health Information Technology (HIT) program, the website mentioned healthcare policy and technology, which had me hooked. Even though I had just graduated in May and taking more classes clearly wasn’t the most fun way to spend the summer, I decided to take on the challenge in order to learn more about HIT.
I knew from the beginning that 15 hours of courses in a short nine weeks was going to be tough, but I never thought that there would be, wait for it, a test on the second day! Nevertheless, the fast paced and demanding classes were all very interesting. Dr. Wanser’s class – The Fundamentals of HIT – was extremely informative and eye opening about the changes that are taking place in the world of healthcare. We learned all about Meaningful Use, electronic health record (EHR) systems, and how healthcare was going to be affected in the near future by all the policies that were in place. My favorite lecture in his class had to be when he played the YouTube video of a song about all the acronyms that were involved with ARRA and HITECH.
Besides lectures in all of the classes, we were fortunate to have many guest speakers throughout the program. I personally enjoyed the opportunity to hear from many of the leaders in the HIT industry. I would have never thought that a CEO of a company or a Texas Congressman would ever be willing to come talk to a group of students who had just recently been introduced to the topics related to this industry. Having the chance to learn from these people who were directly involved in the field that we were entering, really increased my motivation to learn as much as possible and take in the different perspectives that each of them had to offer.
During the practicum portion of the program, I went to the Gulf Coast Regional Extension Center. It was a wonderful experience working with Dr. Dunn and Mrs. Smalls, our mentors while at the practicum. The first day there I had the fortune of watching the conference held by the Office of the National Coordinator about the rules and regulations being set in order to achieve Meaningful Use. From Dr. Wanser’s class, I was familiar with the older regulations that were in place for Meaningful Use, so it was interesting to see the changes being made to ensure that more and more physicians became compliant with the regulations.
Near the end of the program, the poster session and the networking events were invaluable in getting to know more people involved in the HIT industry. At first, it was definitely nerve-wracking to have professionals come by and evaluate the research and work I did along with my partner for our research poster, but I found my confidence and was able to effectively present the relevant information to the evaluators. The networking events were great practice for the future as well as great opportunities to find careers in the industry.
Overall, I feel as though the nine weeks I thought I was sacrificing in the beginning of the summer turned out to be one of the greatest investments I had made for my future. Always having a passion for healthcare, I feel as though through my time in the program I have garnered the skills needed to find a rewarding career in the world of HIT. H.M.
Applying for the health information technology program was a last lifeline after graduation. Despite my extensive background in research and laboratory work, I was at a disadvantage in the job market since I lacked a Masters degree. I did not really know what HIT was. When people asked, I explained it as if it was a glorified secretarial field.
I could not have been more wrong if I had thought health information technology was a romp through a lily covered field in France. The courses that I took, the skills that I learned, and where I am now after graduating from the program, have made me a completely different type of prospective employee. I am professional, I have skills that are absolutely integral in a burgeoning healthcare field, and I have fallen in love with not only the corporate side of health information technology but also the research side of health information technology.
The complete immersion style of the HIT program was necessary in order to learn everything we had to learn: the technical aspects, the healthcare policy, the basics of everything that goes into electronic health data, records, health information exchanges, and the business side of implementing health information systems. These are subjects that often take people upwards of two years to learn and have a basic understanding of, which we accomplished in two months.
This was the best summer I had in Austin. My classmates and I bonded over the type and amount of work we had, and I had the most amazing final practicum experience. I wanted hands-on experience in health information technology, and I received it while working with CTG, a consulting group that is currently working on the creation of a health information exchange for Texas. The practicum and a research poster were the two final components of the HIT program, a way for each student to show their understanding and ability to use the information from our class work. In my practicum experience, I had the opportunity to give real input on the newly released NPRM about Privacy, Security, and Enforcement rules, as well as create two patient consent forms that met the standards set by HIPAA, HITECH, and ARRA for patient privacy in protected health information. I was able to attend board meetings with the THSA and CTG, and really see the work that goes into healthcare policy at the state level.
My favourite part of the course ended up being the Fundamentals of HIT. It was a great umbrella class, even though the workload was high. It allowed us to be ready for the work we were doing in the other courses and gave us the strongest foundation for the projects and papers we were writing. It was also based around guest speakers from each field of HIT- technology, business, and policy. These speakers were highly engaging and gave a lot of insight from each of their fields.
The HIT program this summer was integral to my development after college, and has opened up a wide variety of doors for me in terms of careers. I did not know health information technology was such an important growing field, or so interesting. This course gave me the opportunity to reevaluate my career goals, and I am currently rethinking whether I want to become a physician, or pursue health information technology and aid in the development of electronic health records. This would not have been possible without the teachers and administrators who were involved with the UT HIT program, and I hope other students will have the same opportunities I had this summer from which to learn and grow.S.P.—
It had been a year since I had graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a human biology degree. Around this time I received an email from Dr. Kneeland informing me of a great opportunity in the field of health information technology (HIT). I usually do not respond to these types of emails because they either don’t grab my attention or the programs are too long. Due to work and commitments to my family, I couldn’t do programs that were lengthy. However, this program seemed perfect since it was a two month program and I would have a great opportunity afterward, or so I was told.
I wrote my essay and was given an interview. During this time we were told a little more about HIT and the program. Walking out of the interview I must admit I still did not know what this program had in store for me or what HIT was. However, with the intense teaching I can now honestly say that I know what HIT is and what people hope to achieve from HIT. The intense classes we had were very important in laying the foundation of our education. In Dr. Nauert’s class we learned about the pressures and challenges a physician faces in the United States. They have to deal with embezzlement issues, payments, and now HIT. We also learned how the insurance business works and the different types there are. I definitely learned a lot about our health care system in America and have a different view of the issues after this course.
In Bob Ligon’s class we were given the essential skills needed to be consultants and project managers. We learned how to do workflows, prepare RFI and RFPs, as well as many other things such ROI to help implement the adoption of an electronic health records (EHRs). In a certain project we had to pretend to be project managers and install a pharmacy information system in a hospital. Although we didn’t really have to do this it still gave us a real life experience as we had to do research, plan, and then present this in class all with little or no instruction. In real life no one will baby you.
Dr. Smith’s class was another one in which we received a very good real life experience. We were given demos of the different EHR systems by their respective vendors. This allowed us to see the different options provided by each system. We were then given a list of things an office manager, a nurse, and a doctor would have to do using an EHR and asked to do them. This allowed us to see how hard it can be on these positions and gave us an insight into possible problems. It also helped us learn the systems so that we can talk about them to possible employers.
In Dr. Wanser’s class we were provided with an overview of medical terminology, the existing healthcare infrastructure, current issues in HIT development and use, and federal policy regarding HIT. In addition, we had to take a vocabulary test on about 170 terms related to HIT. This really helped us as we were able to use these words in conversation with employers. In our networking opportunity as we talked to a representative from Oracle he asked us about EDI, and were able to tell him it stood for electronic data interchange and it is a standardized electronic format for business transactions.
In our class with Dr. Kneeland we learned many important real life lessons. We were given instructions on how to construct an effective resume that conveys our skills. We also did speed interviews which I believe had prepared me well to handle tough questions in an interview. We also had an etiquette dinner which was helpful to me since I have never had an etiquette dinner. I learned which utensils to use, when to use them, and how. Now that I am done with this course, I can honestly say it was on of the hardest, most demanding two months. However, I can also honestly say that it was worth the time and effort. I am excited as I now see the possibilities that are before me as I start a career in the field of HIT. A.P.—
If you would have told me a year ago that I would not only choose to spend a summer taking 15 credit hours and debating health care policy but have to compete with other students for the opportunity to do so, I would have laughed in your face. As a self-proclaimed proud nerd, I have always had a passion for learning and been a motivated student, but that level of intensity just sounds masochistic. Sure enough, I have spent the past nine weeks doing just that and loving every minute. This summer I have been in class with 53 of the most intelligent and driven people I have ever met and I have developed an absolute passion for health information technology. Much to the perplexity of my friends outside the field, I now find myself in an unrelated conversation drawing comparisons to things like system usability or interoperability. I can understand their confusion, however, because only three months ago I had no idea how exciting and important the field of HIT is.
Like many of my classmates, I walked in the first day not entirely knowing what to expect. Dr. Leanne Field gave us a brief preview of what was to come including weekly journal clubs, group “disease du jour” presentations, and a research poster project to be presented for a large group of professionals in the health IT industry. Feeling mostly excited and only slightly overwhelmed at that point, Dr. David Wanser began our first lecture by informing us that our first exam would be the next morning. I knew to anticipate a heavy workload, but I had not expected such a busy schedule right at the beginning. Looking back on it, diving straight in was absolutely the best thing to do. I was completely immersed in HIT from the first hour of the program and began learning a whole new vocabulary of terms, acronyms, and codes. Between Dr. Susan Fenton’s mind-boggling lecture on data standards and Dr. Bill Sage’s alarming discussion of the rising costs of health care, I began to see the problems that need to be fixed and became a fervent advocate of HIT. With everything HIT is slated to accomplish in the next decade, I found it hard to imagine why anyone would resist adopting these new “miracle” technologies.
My confidence in the future of health IT paired with the experience of listening to misconceptions about the field from my friends and family motivated my research poster project for the program. The upfront cost of an EHR system is just the beginning of the list of concerns medical professionals have about implementing technology in their workplaces. My research partner and I wanted to identify the non-financial barriers to adoption, many of which are misunderstandings or unjustified fears, and develop materials to educate healthcare staff on the reality of HIT. Both of us completed the practicum portion of the program in the marketing department at e-MDs to gain additional insight into how we could most effectively communicate with our target audience once our initial research was completed. After hours of work creating a survey, distributing it, and analyzing the results, we determined the greatest concern among medical professionals related to HIT is the potential for a security breech that would compromise patients’ personal health information. We developed a banner advertisement for a website comparing the security of paper charts with that of electronic records to address this concern and are currently hoping to continue confronting the other issues we identified with more marketing materials.
Now that the summer program has concluded, I am actively seeking employment in the field. After discovering my passion for educating others on HIT, I am hoping to work as a software trainer for either an EHR or HIE vendor or a consulting group. This summer has deepened my knowledge not only of health information technology but also of myself, my interests, and my abilities. I am truly honored to have been a part of such an incredible inaugural class! K.W.
If I were asked 9 weeks ago about what health information technology (Health IT) meant, my answer would have been simple. I would have responded that Health IT is simply the integration of health science and information via technology. In essence and simplicity, that is literally what Health IT means; however, it is too crude to define what it actually entails.
I am sure that no one in the program expected the magnitude of the content that was thrown at us or understand just how intense this summer would be because of the program. The first day of class covered a course called the Fundamentals of Health Information Technology which emphasized the major challenge of health care being the eternal triangle: cost, quality, and access. Dr. Wanser, the professor for this course, explained to us that only two out of the three can be achieved from the triangle and there lies the challenge, because all three are essential. He stressed the importance of finding a delicate balance for this problem in order to achieve better and cheaper health care.
In the ensuing week, everyone in the class were blown away by all the acronyms associated with governing bodies, organizations, and terminology relating to Health IT. I soon learned that electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange (HIE) were the critical tools behind Health IT and America’s outlet to improve health care. Dr. Smith, the professor for Applied Health Information Management, was an expert in informatics, a field that covers the application of information with technology. She explained to us that information and data were two separate entities and understanding this difference was vitally important when relating it to EHRs, which contain data and not actual information. EHRs consist of a comprehensive medical record of an individual and may provide important modules like e-prescribing, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and clinical decision support (CDS). The data provided by EHRs can drastically improve the efficiency of a practice and aid physicians in delivering higher quality of care by allowing physician to analyze the data and reach meaningful conclusions.
The last third of the program consisted of an actual practicum experience where I could utilize the information that I learned in a practical setting. I was assigned to e-MDs, an EHR software vendor company. Through e-MDs, I learned the inner workings of the company and was able to associate much of my learning to the work that was conducted. Many of the employees were pleasantly surprised by the knowledge that the program students had of Health IT and EHRs in general. Overall, it turned out to be an awesome experience that really helped complete the program in terms of utilizing the education and knowledge in a heuristic manner.
Reflecting back to this whole program, I don’t think there is anywhere else that I could have received this kind of unique training and education for such a novel and expanding field like Health IT. I’ve come out of the program as a much more informed student who has the educational background to go out in a health care setting and apply what I’ve learned for a job in Health IT. This truly served as a wonderful experience and I feel confident in my ability to help the future of health care in the United States. D.Y.