Many med students often write to me asking about how they might get into the healthcare IT space while continuing their studies or after they graduate. Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of online phlebotomy classes at her blog Health Zone Blog speaks routinely to med students so I asked here to share her thoughts. She’s got some great ideas for students and is willing to take more questions via e-mail or comments in this posting. Here’s what she had to say:
If you’re a medical student who is also interested in information technology, there’s a great way to make both your passions meet and make a career out of it. Healthcare IT is a field that’s growing rapidly, more so with the advent of handheld smart devices that are making the sharing of information extremely simple. As a medical student, you have the advantage of being knowledgeable in the field, knowledge that you can apply to your new career. If you’re looking for a niche in healthcare IT to break into, here are a few options that you could consider:
- Developing apps for handheld devices: There are thousands of applications being developed for the iPhone and other smart devices. So if you’re interested in writing apps that would be useful to the medical community and if you have a head for tweaking out code, you could make yourself useful by applying your knowledge to this field.
- Providing knowledge for EMR and application developers: If you’re not too technically sound or inclined, you could act as a knowledge provider and consultancy expert for people who build applications for use in the healthcare IT field. You need to be extremely smart and have years of experience before you can be accepted as an expert though, so it’s best you know your way around the IT field as well so that you’re able to design medical systems as well.
- Managing and administering IT systems: This job leans more towards the IT side, but as a medical student, you can use your knowledge of the medical community and its workings to provide insight as to how better the systems can be used in order to benefit both patients and medical practitioners.
- Training doctors to use the systems: Most medical personnel who are set in their ways and methods are averse to the use of technology. But this is only because they do not understand it. With the emphasis being placed these days on EMR systems and other digital applications, it’s only a matter of time before all hospitals become completely paperless environments. And this is why it’s a good idea for physicians and other medical personnel to get acquainted with the new technology that is being introduced by the day. You can play the role of educator who eases the transition from the old to the new and help doctors get used to the new system.