It is more than Three months now being part of the health informatics courses at Karolinska Institutet,ooh it feels strange how time flies. I can reflect on one of the health informatics ‘bridging’ course. It is termed ‘bridging’ because the Health informatics consists of students from medical and computer sciences or basically technological backgrounds and to bridge the difference in background, the first courses are tailored depending on academic backgrounds,with sort of professional swaps. And in any typical setting with the two professionals getting a common ground is highly unexpected as there are few interlinking concepts if any between the two fields.
As almost two thirds of the class with medical backgrounds went to Department of computer and information science (DSV) at Stockholm university to learn the basics of computer science,the other third with technological background which i was part of ,remained at Karolinska to explore what was termed ‘basics of medicine’.
The course name ‘Basic medical science’ initially sounded ‘disturbing’ to me ,as my distant relation to anything related to medical science in an academic sense was high school biology. The health informatics program is basically to aid information technology personal and medical personnel to be able to communicate in unison,so both professionals should have an understanding on the workings of either field to develop,utilize and evaluate technological systems which are relevant to the health sector.
Expectations Interaction with a few the of previous first year students with technical background,a picture of an intensive course took shape in my brain even before the program begun.Before beginning the course one of my greatest fears was how i was going to tackle what looked on paper like an insurmountable task. Transitioning from technology semantics and jargon to life sciences terminology was going to be a challenge , fields which seem not to share a lot.from ‘data’ to ‘pathology’, ‘systems’ to ‘computer systems’, ‘println’,’coding’ to ‘autoimmune’, ‘python’, ‘schema’,’database’ to ‘diseases’,’conditions’ .
I have to admit it was one of the most intriguing experiences in my so far short academic stay at Karolinska University, basically because of the magnitude of new information i was able to get in the period of five weeks period ,the total duration of the course was mind boggling, the expectation that i should have understood all the stuff within the 5 weeks to and be able to sit the tests and exams was itself disturbing, but as it is humanly typically desperate times always lead to reactions . But with team activities which is pinnacle of the health informatics program and the input from course facilitators,it was generally a great experience and i can say largely successfully. The theoretical medical stuff of anatomy, physiology and pathology was complemented with stints of laboratory work were incorporated like measurement of blood pressure and it’s interpretation, how to take ECG test and interpret the information and finally simple heart dissection.
At the end of the course you are expected to understand the basics of medical science, which i might give myself a relatively good score to be modest. Definitely any prospective health informatics student with a technical background, should not expect to be able to diagnose or prescribe any formal condition, it is meant to give a general picture on medical science and it seems to do it quite successfully. You remain first and foremost an information scientist.