We caught up with Health Informatics faculty member Imran Khan recently, to discuss his perspective on how he fosters a sense of community with his online students, and also to get his take on upcoming trends in the field of Health Informatics.
Imran Khan earned his MBA from the University of Illinois, then went on to earn his MS in Medical Informatics at Northwestern University. He also has a BS in Computer Engineering and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. In addition, Imran holds a CPHIMS (Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems) certification. This is a professional certification program for experienced healthcare information and management systems professionals.
He has also earned his Fellow Healthcare Information Management System Society (FHIMSS) certification. Being a Fellow is an honor which professionally recognizes him as a leader within the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which is the leading Health Informatics organization in the country, dedicated to improving healthcare quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access, through the best use of information technology and management systems.
At UNE, Imran has worked with three Health Informatics courses, all 100% online:
This course introduces students to the central concepts in Health Informatics with a survey of the concepts needed to leverage the improvement of healthcare outcomes with the use of technology. Students explore the various technology platforms used in healthcare, how health care data is used, and the law, rules, regulations that shape the both the technology and the data. This course offers students a framework for a deeper understanding of the concepts in subsequent Health Informatics coursework.
The implementation or integration of any new technology into healthcare requires careful planning and organization. This project management course provides students with widely-accepted concepts and skills that can be used and scaled to successfully complete projects of varying sizes. Through their coursework, students gain experience with the common language used by professionals involved in project management. Students also explore concepts of project charter, work breakdown structures, scheduling, risk planning, and project reporting.
This course is currently in development, and Imran is actively involved in the development process, ensuring that there will be a special emphasis on inter-student connectivity and group collaboration.
To contribute to his students’ success, Imran uses his position as a faculty member to show support to students through strong engagement with his student community. He makes a conscious effort to develop relationships with his students, and is always an active participant in the course discussion boards, providing personalized, detailed feedback. He also makes sure that he follows up on any questions that his students may have.
In addition, each course has a weekly announcement feature where instructors are able to post any updates or news that they feel is timely and relevant to the course. Imran uses this space to share any interesting articles he’s come across, or any examples of Health Informatics that he’s noticed in the real world that week.
He enjoys using announcements to provide relevant information in addition to class assignments to highlight real world examples of topics or events that professionals in the field have struggled with – and examples of the solutions they’ve reached to overcome the issue.
Office hours are another way that Imran has found to meaningfully connect with his students. He finds a great benefit to this scheduled time outside of class each week to meet with students and values his interactions with students who reach out during that time.
Imran finds that his students tend to reach out frequently outside of the virtual classroom and even outside of office hours. He’s given job references and career guidance, counseled students on their resumes, and given advice on upcoming interviews. He’s generous with his time because having a relationship with his students beyond the presented course material is important to him.
As students progress through the program, Imran also helps students prepare for, and gives advice on, any additional certifications they should be looking for after graduation.
Imran is purposefully very hands-on and communication-oriented. He feels that this type of quality interaction helps him build strong relationships with his students, which in turn helps him to teach them concepts.
Each course’s discussion boards are a natural place to foster a sense of community among classmates, but Imran also strives to come up with alternate methods of engagement. One avenue for increased inter-student engagement that he’s currently pursuing, is the development of more assignments that involve group work.
Imran finds himself especially engaged with his students during the process of helping them select term projects. These projects last from the first week straight through to finals, and as a part of the process, he encourages his students to be actively engaged with one another. That way students are focused not just on themselves but are prompted to think about what advice they would give to their peers, and how to offer guidance. Both he and his students find this to be a positive experience.
Imran feels that the Health Informatics course content is very strong at UNE. This is true both granularly at the course level – each course has timely, valuable, and relevant content – and it’s also true throughout the entire course carousel. He feels that the UNE Health Informatics program as a whole is focusing on right content and the right topics at the right time.
UNE has a firm commitment to continuous improvement, and student feedback on course content and delivery is highly valued. Students’ opinions on what has worked in the course and what they recommend for potential changes is taken into consideration and change is implemented when appropriate.
Another aspect of the UNE Health Informatics program that Imran values and finds to set the program apart is the positive cooperation across departments within the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. He has found that each aspect of the college operates with the goal of providing an exceptional student experience by keeping students’ best interests at the forefront of all decision making.
As a faculty member, Imran feels that he is treated as a valued partner by the UNE Health Informatics team. From Program Assistant Susan Rooker to Senior Student Support Specialist Hayley Kinsella, he feels that the entire Health Informatics program staff has all been fantastic to partner with. “It’s a true team effort,” says Imran.
The course content in the health informatics program is timely and relevant to the Health Informatics industry – but beyond pure content, Imran feels that group work is one of the strongest tools that he can deploy in order to prepare students for the workforce.
His experience in real-life work environments has made it evident to him that students need more exposure to working together on virtual teams. For example, in the instance of building a virtual global team with virtual leadership, students benefit greatly from first learning how to thrive in this atmosphere in the academic setting, before going on to apply it in the professional field.
Health Informatics is a fast-paced and changing field. And as the industry moves, so do the jobs. The hot topics in Health informatics right now are around Artificial Intelligence, MACRA legislation and the use of Electronic Health Records, shifting health policy with the new presidential administration, data security, and interoperability.
We met up with Imran at the 2017 HIMSS conference, the largest expo and learning conference for Health Informatics Professionals in the country. In our discussion, he outlined some of the major beats in the industry right now. Look for an upcoming blog post that goes into detail about the following areas:
Drawing from his past experience, Imran emphasizes that “As you go out into the real world, there will be a wide range of challenges to deal with. And the coursework is a student’s opportunity to prepare and confront these challenges through the academic training and experience they are receiving.”
Imran is honored to be teaching at UNE and to be a part of this field. “This is more than just a career, he says. “We are working to truly improve patient care and how care is delivered.” He added, “I’m proud of every student I’ve worked with, and the passion and determination they bring to improve healthcare outcomes.”
Imran recognizes the long range implications of health informatics, as well. He envisions Health Informatics concepts being used globally, not just focused on the United States. Health Informatics can play a significant role in alleviating a lot of suffering around the globe. “And,” he says, “that’s why we’re in this field.”
If you are interested in pursuing a career in health informatics, or even if you’re simply interested in discussing the program, please reach out to an Enrollment Counselor at (855) 751-4445 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!Tags: faculty | Faculty Spotlight | Graduate Programs in Health Informatics | Health Informatics
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