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Informatics Professional Interview

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by

Rachel Beaudin

on 16 February 2016

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Transcript of Informatics Professional Interview

Given the growing concern about hackers and security breaches, what types of protocols are in place to help ensure that patient information is safe?
Informatics Professional Interview
I think it has forever impacted workflow both positive and negative. Dirty data and non-integrated systems can make it extremely challenging if not dangerous to care for patients. On a positive note, when done well with normalized high integrity data it can massively streamline knowledge sharing among multiple disciplines and the care team.
I think the baseline for this is compliance with HIPAA Physical Security and Privacy guidelines. Software such as Fair Warning serve to help audit inappropriate access. Strong repercussions and disciplinary actions for violations. Continuous education about visiting websites that are not sanctioned by the institution or not clicking on emails that are not from recognized persons. Malware detection devices that work to prevent phishing and scam emails from entering the system. Proper destruction of records. Strong password policies. Privacy screens. Mobile device policies and ability to wipe devices remotely.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for health informatics?
I think the field is going to continue to grow, expand and yet specialize. For example – it started primarily with nursing informatics, pharmacy informatics, physician informatics, and now seeing other specialties emerge such as radiation oncology informatics. The need for individuals who can bridge the realm of both technology and clinical is in high demand. The demand spans from configuration, workflow analysis, go-live support, training, requirements development, testing, etc.
Sherry Thorpe
Principal Consultant at PursuIT Healthcare Advisors
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherry-thorpe-36506610
In your own words, how would you describe the field of health informatics to someone who is not familiar?
I would describe it as leveraging technology in the health care space specifically to improve care of patients and the workflow of the providers and care team performing those tasks.
Why do you think it is an interesting time to enter health informatics?
Because I think for the first time health providers are recognizing the value of knowledge-based technology. The vendors and developers of information technology in this space are also beginning to realize the need for usability and ability for it to directly have a positive influence on patient care and outcomes.
How is health informatics changing healthcare operations and patient care?
Are there any particular technologies that you are excited about? If so, why?
I'm most excited about personal health monitoring devices and the ability to feed information to personal health record and/or provider (ie., fitbit – can be used to monitor post-op patients or cardiac patients for activity level compliance. It can also be used to validate pre-op level activity as reported by patient.
Telehealth because of the expanded access to care.

How has the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for electronic medical records affected the field of health informatics?
It has certainly accelerated the growth, however, without clear standards to start with for both codification and exchange of information it has created a bit of a nightmare for interoperability – in addition- MU tended to govern the use of medical records as opposed to providers defining how that should all work.
What types of qualities and skills may be beneficial to a career in health informatics?
I believe a clinical background is a huge advantage. I have worked with a very small number of consultants who could function at a high level in a clinical space, but they are rare. I truly believe there is an inherent built-in empathy that someone who has not taken care of a patient will not understand the value of time and clicks.
What are the most challenging and gratifying aspects of your work, and why?
Challenging – IT never seems to have enough resources to meet the needs of clinicians yet they drive most of the timelines so what ends up being delivered is sub-par. Most gratifying – putting something in place that makes things better for patient or provider. Improving quality of worklife for clinicians. Seeing the Aha! moment when IT gets it or when the clinician gets it.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of pursuing their advanced degrees in the health informatics field?
Ask yourself why you are doing it? I have been working in the field for a decade yet I am pursuing my masters in healthcare informatics because I want to keep expanding my knowledge and would like to teach in this field going forward. And also ask yourself about work-life balance and what’s next for you?
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