UIC Health Informatics Health Data Sciences

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Dr. Miriam Isola discusses the growing need of Health Data Sciences in the Health Informatics field. She also provides an overview of the new Health Data Science courses and upcoming concentration with the Health Informatics program.

Hosted on October, 2017.


Joan: Hello, everybody, and welcome. We are excited to have you here and joining us for the University of Illinois and Chicago’s Health Informatics Industry Spotlight webinar. We are going to start in just a few seconds. We will wait for a few others to join us and then we will get started.
Welcome. My name is Joan Ziegler. I am an enrollment advisor with the University of Illinois and Chicago’s Health Informatics and Health Information Management programs. We are joined by Camille, who is also an enrollment advisor, and Dr. Miriam Isola who is our Clinical Assistant Professor in Health Informatics and Technology. Miriam is going to talk about predictive analytics and give some insight on this area and how it relates to health informatics.
So the topics we are going to discuss today are a definition of what health informatics is. We will also talk about careers in the field of health informatics, and include a graduate survey and the results of what our graduates have told us about the program and what they are doing now. We will also talk about the different programs that you have options for: our Masters and Post Masters Certificates. We will discuss course structure and delivery, and what to expect as an online student, tuition and payment options, and then Miriam will talk with you again about predictive analytics. And then we want to talk a little bit about why you would consider choosing UIC and finally at the end, we will talk about next steps if you wanted to apply and we will have a chance for you to ask questions and we will give answers as well. So, stay tuned.
I wanted to remind you we have a chat feature for you to be able to ask questions, so do use the chat feature throughout the webinar and we will be happy to answer your questions.
So, what is health informatics? Health informatics is the intersection of IT, computer science, and healthcare, and it is how health information is captured and utilized to advance medicine. The responsibilities within health informatics are to design and develop, implement, evaluate, and assimilate into operations these various systems as well as how to analyze patient data and conduct research using patient data. Some of the concepts you learn about are organizational change leadership, strategic planning, project management, data base design, programming, data mining and analysis, and comprehensive reporting.
We are often asked about what kind of careers you can move into in health informatics and there is quite a few different ones. Here is a listing of some of the jobs that you can move into. You can become a director of clinical informatics, or a senior technical consultant. You can be a director of nursing informatics, you can do clinical analytics. You can be a pharmacy informatics specialist, or an informatics nurse specialist, as well as a director of client services, also physicians can be chief medical information officers. You can move into systems implementation or data analytics. You can be a senior director of technology. You can do health care application analysis. You can consult or do data base analysis and administrator type roles. And there is many more but this is just a listing of some of the jobs that you can move into once you complete our program.
So we did a graduate survey, we asked our graduates what they are doing now and here is what we found: 100% told us that they were employed after they graduated, 79% said that the degree helped them to advance in their field, and 47% said that the degree helped them receive a promotion. 64% said they received a salary increase. And as far as earnings, 46% earn more than $100,000 a year, and 68% earn more than $75,000 a year. Now I would like to introduce Camille, who will be talking about the program description and about our programs.
Camille: Hi, everyone. Welcome, thanks again for joining us. So we offer two health informatics programs. One is a Masters Degree which you could complete in two to two and a half years, the other is the Post Masters Certificate which you could complete within 12 to 18 months. The Masters Degree consists of at least 45 credits, you would be looking at 45 to 49 credits to complete the Masters. There are 15 courses that you have to take, there are three electives, which have a practicum option for those who may want to obtain some experience in health informatics while pursuing the program. The certificate program is several courses. There is no practicum option with the certificate program but it’s a great opportunity for those with a graduate degree who might want to further their degree in health informatics.
Now, UIC offers three opportunities each year to start the program. It is very traditional. We do have a spring semester which will be starting in January. We also have the summer session which will start in May, and of course fall starts in August. The classes are taught in an eight week format. Term A, which is the first session, will begin on January 9 and go through March 3, the session B term will start March 6 and go through May 5.
At UIC, the health informatics programs are taught 100% online. There is no campus requirement. Classes are also asynchronous, so it’s very convenient, very flexible, there are no live sessions that are required that you are logged in at any given time of day. As far as student expectations, we do expect students to dedicate at least 25-30 hours per week to the course work, again with the courses being offered completely online, this really helps to make it available based on your schedule. Your assignments will be project based, primarily. You will have your weekly discussion board postings that you will need to participate in. Your assignments will be in the form of papers or projects. You may have group assignments, power point presentations, there may be some mini-papers as well, in addition to your weeklies and group project tools.
The tuition is calculated per credit hour, so the tuition is $750 per credit hour and there are a variety of funding options that students can chose from. These can be in the form of financial aid or student loans. Students may set up a payment plan and pay monthly. Others may also use tuition reimbursement or any military benefits that may be available to them. Payments can be made via check or credit card as well.
And now I would like to take a moment to introduce our guest speaker, Dr. Miriam Isola. She is one of our clinical assistant professors here at UIC. She has been teaching health informatics here for more than ten years, and over the past 20 years, she has advised health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, and accountable care organizations, as they work to implement information technology, improve population health outcomes, and reduce costs. Her background includes work as a health informatics educator, and as a health care consulting executive. Along with her work here at UIC, Dr. Isola is currently doing consultative work in the area of health care analytics and population health. We are very excited to have Dr. Isola here with us, and we will now hear from her regarding how business intelligence and predictive analytics is used to transform the health care industry.
Miriam: Thank you, Camille. I am happy to be here today to talk to everybody about some of the new directions in health care and predictive analytics and how we are starting to use this more and more. Today, we are starting to see this as something we see in the news everyday and hear about all the time. You hear terms like big data and predictive analytics, and all of this indicates where we are going and a new transformation of using data and analytics in new ways. Big data is only possible in health care because of the vast amounts of data we’ve got now through claims, electronic medical records data warehouses, and a lot of those kinds of things. It is big data that allows us to do more advanced analytics such as predictive analytics.
Here we see some of the goals in health care and the vision that we have of why we are getting into these kinds of use for new data in health care. We are looking to improve the quality of care. We are looking to lower costs. We want overall healthier populations, and we are looking for ways for consumers to be engaged in their own healthcare and be more satisfied with their healthcare. So overall, these are the things we are striving towards.
This evolution of analytics shows you the great amount of time that it takes to get through all the processes where you are starting off just doing reporting, and then you move into analytics and ultimately, you can start to get to predictive analytics, which is up at the top of this evolution. This is another view of it. You can see the questions that are being asked at each step along the way. In the beginning with descriptive analytics, we are asking what happened. Then we move up to asking why it happened and this allows us to do diagnostic analytics, and ultimately we get to the top of the model and we are asking more advanced questions such as what will happen? And this is predictive analytics.
I wanted to give you some definitions so that you can really understand what we mean when we are talking about predictive analytics. Overall, we are looking at the probability that there will be some sort of future outcome or event. It combines business knowledge and statistical techniques in order to achieve insights from the data. So, predictive analytics uses technology and statistics to look for predicting outcomes for individual patients.
On this slide, we see a snapshot, it is a survey of predictive analytics in healthcare and what is going on today. This is very recent information and what we see is that nearly 80% of hospital executives believe that predictive analytics is going to be key to the future of healthcare. There is a big demand for doing predictive analytics but there are some significant barriers. They say they don’t always have the right data or the tools or the infrastructure, and it is another challenge to have the people with the skills to do the predictive analytics.
So that is where you people may come in, because any kind of building of expertise and skill in this area could definitely fill that gap. And then, down at the bottom, you can see what these people said in their responses to the survey, as to why to use predictive analytics. It is used to alert caregivers that there may be something negative going on with their high risk patients, it can be used for financial outcomes, it can help to negotiate contracts with insurers, and it can also be used to help improve patient satisfaction with care they may be receiving, and improve quality of diagnoses. So there is a lot of ways healthcare organizations are looking to use predictive analytics.
This is a nice visual of a model, some of you maybe familiar with a similar model we used as we were implementing electronic medical records and the adoption of this new technology. Here we are talking about adoption of analytics, and you can see that there is a number of levels that organizations need to work their way through. You don’t just start off doing predictive analytics. There is a lot of capabilities that need to be in place before you can get to doing predictive analytics and we see it in this visual coming in at about level seven.
One of the most interesting stories that I’ve come across is a story about how analytics improved the sports arena and particular, started off in baseball. So many of you may have seen the movie Moneyball, and there was a book also, but this is a story of how baseball started to apply predictive analytics and it is a very interesting example because it transformed the entire, not just baseball, but sports industry. And we see it everyday now. It is on every time you are watching a game, you start hearing about new statistics, new variables that they are looking at, and it originated from this. So I guess you could say healthcare is like baseball, and there was recognition in a New York Times op piece, Billy Bean was the coach of the team, he owned Cochland Athletics, and I actually heard him speak at a healthcare analytics conference. He was the keynote speaker, and so he got together with some of these other people you may have heard of, and they were making this comparison that America’s healthcare system is in transition mode and we are going into a new way of thinking and a new way of doing business, applying analytics in healthcare.
These are some other examples of how predictive analytics can be used and who is using it. There is a wide range of applications. Physicians may use it to increase the accuracy of their diagnoses, public health can use predictive medicine in the area of genomics, looking at populations with these patterns, and researchers are also using predictive models, as well as patients can get the benefit of us having used predictive analytics in terms of producing better outcomes.
These are some of the common challenges that we face as we start moving into getting value from big data. Actually that is the top item on the list as the biggest challenge. We do this work and we have data, and we analyze it, but we need to go further than that and get value. We need to work towards getting insights from the data.
What you are looking at here is an example of the output of predictive analytics. The list is a data visualization, a dashboard, and it’s looking at a patient’s risk for heart failure. So this is using data from the electronic medical record and doing a real time calculation predicting risk for this particular patient. A great example of predictive analytics at work.
This slide gives you a view of another dashboard and it’s more at the 30,000 foot level, looking at the entire population. One of the things we do with predictive analytics is to do a risk segmentation of an entire population. Who are the high risk patients? Who are the medium risk patient? And who are the healthy patient’s that we want to keep healthy? So, different kinds of data is used for this. In this case, they used data called the Community Health Needs Assessment. But it is the same idea, kind of trying to look into the future and predict how to work with population, and who the people may be, the high risk people that you are going to want to keep an eye on and intervene with.
So, some summary and conclusions from all that we have looked at here: predictive analytics is the next big idea in medicine and it is happening right now. We see this in the news almost everyday as we are trying to manage costs and work to improve quality. Applying analytic techniques to healthcare is a rapidly growing trend. We see from the survey that was done very recently that healthcare organization are looking to move more and more in this direction. So there is a growing interest in building these analytic capabilities, and that gives us that work in the health informatics field, a real opportunity to be in on something that is exciting and a new growing area in health informatics.
So, with that, I’m going to hand it back over to Joan now for further discussion.
Joan: Thank you, Dr. Isola, we really appreciate you joining us and providing us that information about predictive analytics. I did want to remind you that if you have questions, definitely use the chat feature because we want to be able to answer your questions. So, why would you chose our program? Here are some reasons that UIC is recognized. We are the first accredited program for health informatics. The accrediting body is called Cahiim, and our program was the first program accredited. There is only a few schools that are and we are the very first one.
Also, we are experienced. Our program did start in the early ’90s. A lot of people think this is a new field but our program has been around for over 25 years, so we are well established and we do have about 400 students in the program right now. We are one of the largest programs. We are also well connected because our faculty do work in the industry and teach, they have connections throughout the industry. In fact, often times, employers will contact our faculty about opportunities and we will hear from recruiters as well. And they will send those job leads out to our students, so we are well connected, not only in the Chicago area, but also around the country. I mentioned the accreditation.
Also, it is a flexible program. Our program is asynchronous, as Camille mentioned, meaning that you can log in at any time. I know that many of you work long hours and often times through the evening, so this program is flexible. There is no set time you have to log in. And it’s really conducive for working professionals, in fact most of our students are working full time.
So if you are interested in applying, our admissions committee will meet again the next time on October 15, so you’ve got about a month from now to get everything in. We have included the link for you to be able to apply to our program, and the name of our enrollment advisors and our phone number, so please give us a call or send us an email if you are interested in applying. Now, we would like to open it up to questions.
So I wanted to remind everybody to use the chat feature because we want to answer your questions, and by the way, if we don’t get to them today, we will be responding to you and will email you, your enrollment advisor will be getting in touch with you. So to start off the questions, the first question is: I have never been an online student before. What tools and resources does UIC offer so I can be successful in this program?
Well, you will have a student advisor that will work with you from the time you start in the program all the way until you graduate and she will be preparing you with a welcome call, and you will be going over what to expect as an online student with her. Also, you will be going through a Blackboard orientation. And Blackboard is the learning format that you will be using, so you are going to be going through various modules and getting comfortable using Blackboard. We have a lot of students who have never taken any online courses before so we want to prepare you. So starting in November, you will be going through Blackboard orientation and getting comfortable using that tool. And then you will be able to register for your classes.
Camille: Okay, the next question is: do I need any specific type of degree, for example, in healthcare or a certain background to apply for either program? So as far as a degree is concerned, the Masters program will require that you have a Bachelors degree with at least a B average, which is a 3.0 GPA, and your Bachelors can be in any field. For the Post Masters Certificate, you will need a Graduate degree in any field with a GPA of 3.0 as well, and both programs will require a minimum full time work experience of two years in a related field. If you are not sure if your work experience or background qualifies, I encourage you to reach out to one of us and we will be sure to answer your question.
Joan: Okay, another question is: tell me about UIC’s faculty. How are they involved in the creation and teaching of the classes? Well, our faculty all work in the industry and teach, so they are very involved in the industry and they really prepare our students to be future leaders. They hear about opportunities in the industry, jobs, and they will send those leads out as I mentioned earlier. They also create their own classes. So not anybody can just teach any class in our program. They are experts in their area and they will be creating their own classes and teaching the classes using the Blackboard format.
Camille: Okay, and the next question is: are there prerequisite courses I need to take before starting this program? So, there are prerequisite courses that some students are required to take. This is determined by the admissions committee after they review an applicants background. There is also the option of testing out of prerequisites and if it turns out that you do indeed need them, you will start with them here with us as your first course.
Joan: Okay, another question is: how many students are in the program? We have about 400 students in our health informatics programs and initially everybody starts out together but then we do have up to six years for you to complete the Masters, and you have up to three years to complete the Post Masters, so the courses can start out large, but then they will go down to smaller class sizes and if you have a large class, you will be in a group within the class, maybe a group of between eight and twelve and you will have a facilitator for those groups, so you don’t really get lost in the shuffle so much. There are lots of students to network with. That is one of the big advantages in this program is that many of the students work in the industry, so you will get to know a lot of students. You want to take the opportunity to network and find out what they are doing as far as their jobs and their careers if you are looking for employment once you complete our program.
Camille: Okay and the next question is: how do I get experience in research? So the Masters degree does have a research track option, so for students who are interested in doing research, this is something that you could do along with our faculty at UIC. The research track will require some campus visits, again this is optional for students, it’s not requirement for everyone in the program.
Joan: Another question is: do I need to come to campus for this program? Well, Camille just mentioned that for the research track you would need to come to campus, but other than that, there is no requirement to come to campus for this program. It’s 100% online. Students do come for graduation, and we like to you to come for graduation, but that would really be the only time that you would need to come to campus for our program.
Camille: Okay, and the next question is: I have a Masters degree but it is not in healthcare or IT, how do I decide between the Masters and the Post Masters Certificate? So, the best way to advise you is really to speak with one of us directly so that we can talk in more detail about your personal situation and provide the proper guidance.
Joan: Great, and where can I learn more about jobs in this field? And what is the job market like? So, the job market is fantastic for health informatics. The projected growth is that the jobs are going to increase 20% over the next five years. So, it’s really a great field to be in and a great place to look for jobs is the Himss website. H-I-M-S-S. Himss is a trade association for health informatics and when they have their conferences, they will have over 47,000 people attend. It’s a huge industry, so that is a good place to look at, and your enrollment advisors can provide you a survey too that Himss did about what kind of jobs and what the salaries are for the various jobs. You can also contact recruiters. There are recruiters that have specific knowledge about health informatics. You can just do a Google search and there is many different recruiters out there and you can contact them as well about opportunity by doing a Google search.
Camille: Okay, and another question is: how can I get practical work experience in informatics? So with the Masters program, we offer a practicum, again, this is an option for students, it’s actually one of the electives that we offer. With the practicum, you have the opportunity to chose a facility in your area, so again, you are not required to come to Chicago, but simply chose an organization in your area where you would work in an informatics related role, and complete 160 practicum hours. So, this is a fantastic way to obtain some informatics work experience while you are pursuing the program.
Joan: Well, I believe that is all the time that we have, but we will answer any questions that you have provided that we haven’t gotten to yet today, and again we want to thank our guest speaker, Miriam Isola, and thank you for attending today. Again, your enrollment advisor will be in touch with you if you contact us and we will be sending out copies of the webinar to all of you who have registered. Again, thank you so much for your time.