Can you tell us about your background and what sparked your interest in medical informatics?
I got my bachelor’s in Dentistry from India before I moved to the States. I have always been a tech enthusiast and also love helping people, hence I chose dentistry. I did some philanthropic work in a few rural parts where help was necessary. I also wanted to pursue the tech/analytical part of my interest and so I thought Medical Informatics would be the best option to go forward with. During my bachelor’s I came across several articles that focused on how patient data can depict a big picture of an organization and also help in delivering helpful insights to improve the quality of care being provided. I believe my unique experience in dentistry and tech fills the void between the two realms.
How has your experience of studying health informatics been?
I learn something new every single day. As health informatics is a combination of the health care and IT field, there’s a lot to understand and to imbibe before entering into a real-world environment. Coming from a healthcare background, it was a quite difficult path for me at first to learn machine learning concepts and programming languages. But I took a step back and started my journey from the basics of programming and understanding the US healthcare system which helped me gain a better grip on some of the difficult topics today. My professors at UNC Charlotte are very supportive and helped me in every learning curve of my journey.
What does a typical day look like while studying this topic?
Since I am entering this new world of IT/Analytics, I start my day by practicing my coding skills on some online platforms, then try to learn what went wrong and how can I improve on it. This gives me a sense of confidence and I get to learn new skills and concepts every day. After that, I work on my university assignments along with a few meetings related to my research. I am currently involved in two research projects, that I am working on voluntarily.
How does your course content differ from studying bioinformatics or other forms of data analytics?
Health Informatics is a link between data science and healthcare. This field helps to visualize a big picture of any organization and through data science. It analyzes health data and helps companies make informed decisions. On the other hand, bioinformatics deals with data science and biology, which focuses on analyzing the genetic character and gene mapping techniques.
What level of education do you believe is required to pursue a career in medical informatics?
A strong grip in programming languages as well as US health care industry is a must to pursue a career in health informatics. Knowing either of these fields makes the understanding and learning of medical informatics much easier.
What advice would you give someone interested in studying medical informatics?
This is one of the best fields to make a career in for anyone interested in exploring the world of medicine or health care from an IT point of view. During COVID, the demand for health informaticians has surged, showing how important this field is.
What are some of the trends within medical informatics that you are excited about?
I am very attracted towards the use of natural language processing (NLP) techniques that helps in translation of medical records from one language to another. One of the main purposes of NLP is to transcribe the paper records to electronic data. I was introduced to this part of health informatics as a part of my course curriculum and was lured towards it.
What do you plan on doing when you have graduated?
You never stop learning. After I am done with my graduate studies, I look forward to join a company that is equally enthusiastic about using IT in healthcare to improve patient services. I want to do further research in the field and hopefully will write and publish a few research papers. I am planning to pursue a data analyst or data scientist job in a Healthcare or pharmaceutical setting. This way, I can apply the knowledge I acquired and will also be able to gain experience and nourish my skills. In turn, I believe the research I have done and projects I have worked upon will greatly help the company I work with.
Where can readers learn more about you or contact you?
I am always available for anyone who wants to know more about medical informatics or wants to discuss and/or argue any technical topics in the field. I am reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org, on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/drrudrapatel/ or read more about me on my website at www.drrudrapatel.com
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