It has been a rollercoaster of a semester for me. I entered this course not fully understanding what I was getting myself into, but at the same time I was very hopeful that I would find my niche. And after 16 weeks of blogging and learning about the basics of this course, I can honestly say that I feel I belong here. I’m still struggling and I know there is still much to learn; however, I can now also see that there are so many opportunities for me in this field, opportunities which I am excited to explore.
Before moving on to the next semester, l’d like to look back at what has transpired over the last few months. Below are the highlights of each blog:
Week 2: Informatics, Global Health and eHealth
Driving Question: What is the relevance of informatics to global health and eHealth?
Highlights: Introduction to the very basic concepts which I had previously confused with. These concepts served as the foundation for this course.
Week 3: Health Informatics in the Philippines
How can we advance the field of health informatics in the Philippines?
Highlights: I was honestly surprised when I discovered all the progress our country has had in terms of eHealth. It was my first introduction to RxBox, CHITS, and other local initiatives. Prior to this I was somehow pessimistic about the state of healthcare in the Philippines.
Week 4: Health Information Systems in Developing Countries
How can health information systems be sustainable in developing countries?
Highlights: I was introduced to the concept of hybrids and learned about the ITPOSMO dimensions of health information system design-reality gap.
Week 5: Governance and Management in Health Informatics
Driving Question: Why are governance and management important in health informatics?
Highlights: I learned about the COBIT 5 business framework and how it relates to governance and management.
Week 6: Establishing the Philippine Health Information Exchange
Driving Question: How can patients access their data from different healthcare providers as they transfer care?
Highlights: I learned more about the Philippine Health Information Exchange, which I thought was a very promising initiative and something which I hope I can actively get to be part of when I graduate this course.
Week 7: Enterprise Architecture in Healthcare
Driving Question: In a multistakeholder, multicomponent health information system, how can you ensure that all the players are doing their part?
Highlights: This assignment was a struggle for me and I had a difficult time understand what EA was, but I eventually got there! *happy dance*
Week 8: Electronic Health Records: Issues and Challenges
Driving Question: What are the issues and challenges in implementing electronic health records in primary care?
Highlights: This, for me, helped reinforced what I already knew about EMRs (not EHRs yet) since we are using one in the company I am working for.
Week 9: Personal Health Records
Driving Question: What features are considered critical or most useful by users of Personal Health Records?
Highlights: I was able to develop a scoring system for a PHR and use it to evaluate an app I bought from iTunes.
Week 10: Standards and Interoperability
Driving Question: How can healthcare institutions adopt standards to ensure interoperability?
Highlights: I learned about significance of standards and interoperability, and the role they will play in the successful implementation of the PHIE.
Week 11: Clinical Decision Support
Driving Question: How can Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) improve the quality of healthcare?
Highlights: Learning about the 10 commandments for CDSS was interesting for me. It was also fun trying to come up with a CDSS that can incorporated into CHITS, although it was challenging at the same time since I’m not really familiar with it.
Week 12: Knowledge Management and Information Retrieval
Driving Question: How can knowledge management improve access to healthcare research?
Highlights: I liked how the concepts above was explained. I used to mix up the concepts of data, information and knowledge. Answering this assignment also led me to the dengue vector eradication efforts in Pangasinan, which I thought was really interesting.
Week 13: Privacy, Confidentiality, Security and Trust
Driving Question: What policies are in place to protect the Filipino patient’s privacy and confidentiality of health information?
Highlights: This assignment helped me educate myself further on the policies that were in place that protected the privacy rights of the Filipino patient. It was the perfect jumping board for the next blog, which had to do with the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
Week 14: Legal and Regulatory Issues in eHealth
Driving Question: Is the Data Privacy Act adequate to protect confidential health information?
Highlights: I have a couple of cousins who are lawyers, and it was enlightening discussing this Act with them. After reviewing this Act and its IRR, I have a couple of reservations as to how effectively this can be implemented. But I think it’s good that something like this exists, considering we are in the age where information and communication technologies are integral to the processes of many businesses, including healthcare.
Week 15: Telehealth
Driving Question: How can telehealth support healthcare delivery in the Philippines?
Highlights: I reviewed House Bill 4199 or the Telehealth Act of 2014 for this assignment. After reading the very comprehensive Data Privacy Act of 2012, I felt that this fell short in terms of comprehensiveness. I think this Act needs a lot of improvement before it can be implemented.
Driving Question: How can mobile applications be useful in primary care?
Highlights: I think that by the time I did this assignment, I was more or less convinced that my niche in health informatics is more of helping out the private sector, particularly the corporate world. While the general public, especially the underserved and the underprivileged need to be attended to, a population that also needs attention are the workers, especially those in the BPO or in similar industries. They present with unique health challenges, and this is what I would like to explore more in the future.
It was an incredible journey, indeed. I hope my blogs were informative enough. If you are medical student or an allied medical professional and you’re reading this, I hope I convinced you enough to give this field a shot. We need more like us!
As always, comments and questions are very much welcome. Leave them in the box below.