Is health informatics for you?

The university application season is upon us and for those who are interested in the intersection of computer science, information science and healthcare I invite you to consider taking further studies in health informatics.

I have been asked a number of times what I study and more often than not when I say health informatics I get a blank stare followed by another question, what is it about?  I could say a lot about what it is (what it is not) but I usually say a variation of oh it’s about IT in healthcare or it’s about computer applications in healthcare. Either I move on to explain more and bore the person asking or just move on to another topic.

The field of health informatics is broad. Because it computing is so ubiquitous you can find specialised fields in all branches of healthcare that use computer applications from research and development to treatment and evaluation. If you manage to reach that stage that you are seriously considering taking further studies in health informatics whether you are from a medical background (physician, nurses, physical therapist, optometrist, dentist etc) or a technical background (software developer, engineer, mathematician, information scientist) there is always something interesting and exciting for you. But before you take the plunge and dedicate your precious time to taking a master’s in health informatics I’d like you to consider the following:

  1. A master’s in health informatics will give you a taste of what’s possible but not a high-level specialty. Because the field is so broad, a master’s could only cover so much and open up fields of sub-specialty that you can get into by either taking further studies or experiencing them in the field or workplace.
  2. But the good thing is a master’s in health informatics will definitely make you ready for bigger opportunities ahead; especially ready to participate in an multi-billion dollar industry that is projected to grow to $53.2 billion globally in 2019. You will acquire tools in bridging IT and healthcare.
  3. Your vision of your future matters. Ask yourself whether being a bridge between IT and healthcare appeals to you and something that you would love to do years after you have graduated.
  4. Do you see yourself working well in projects that are likely to have a lot of problems and to fail and drain money from funders? And if they do, are you ready to be the centre of attention because you are most likely one of those to be blamed for these problems or failures and are also the one expected to fix them fast?
  5. Or would you like to challenge the above state of things and to change healthcare one computer application at a time? Or do you have a broader vision for health and IT?

Consider. If you think you are up for the challenge and have a more creative way of describing health informatics at a dinner party then maybe just maybe health informatics is for you.

And apply at Karolinska Institutet. It’s been an incredible experience so far.

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