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2011 Summer Internship Testimony in Health Informatics

A current SI student shares on their summer internship experience:

I am interested in HCI application in healthcare industry and have taken a few classes related to the subject. I was intrigued by the numerous theories and principles described and decided it would be highly beneficial to have an opportunity to experience and validate my studies. I am particularly interested in the workflow dynamics and analyses and system design practices. I learned that one of the faculty has a contract collaborating with a local hospital and was recruiting people; I took advantage of the opportunity.

My internship’s objectives were to integrate and design a centralized database for the department. The department is a highly elaborate organization. Because of the dynamic nature of healthcare practice, the existing database practices need to be revised and improved. My role was a project manager: I performed needs assessments, business processes, and work and information flow analyses. I then took this data and collaborated with programmers to design an improved and more efficient database system.

I initially felt tremendously overwhelmed by the complexity of the organization. The environment is extremely fast-paced, almost to a point of being frantic, yet it is very well coordinated. There is the constant stream of medical terminology being used by all the personnel. In spite of this, I soon found myself being able to learn and adapt well to its culture and also found that I could be resourceful. I was very fortunate: the department’s personnel were not only professional, but friendly and supportive; I made several good friends.

This internship affirmed and fortified my interest in health informatics. Such interest includes implementing an information system, improving interface design for medical devices, and enhancing patient communication and social support. I truly believe the sky is the limit when it comes to the career possibilities for information scientists in the healthcare sector.

Posted by kkowatch at October 15, 2011 10:15 PM

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