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Julia Zarb



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  • OS12 - Expanding Digital Competencies Through Education (ID 18)

    • Event: e-Health 2017 Virtual Meeting
    • Type: Oral Session
    • Track: Clinical and Executive
    • Presentations: 2
    • Coordinates: 6/06/2017, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, Room 206B
    • OS12.02 - Striking a Balance: Theory vs Applied Practice in HI Education  (ID 71)

      Julia Zarb, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto; Toronto/CA

      • Abstract
      • Slides

      Purpose/Objectives: Theory and applied practice are polarities in health informatics education –a balance of both elements is needed to prepare students for emerging health informatics job opportunities. How do students, educators and employers align on how much concept vs. practice is optimal for future professionals? Health Informatics programs seek to build foundations of sustainable theories and models for students to apply in highly-variable live settings that are replicated by practicum placements, internships and co-op work. Mixing academic and applied efforts within a graduate program, however, doesn’t automatically produce cohesive health informatics professional thinking. This materializes when the learnings from both mesh effectively. The question emerges as to how to best adapt, synthesize and contextualize learnings from both polarities to suit upcoming HI professional needs. The presentation will be based on insights collected from an online survey of actual employers, students and educators related to a particular HI program. It will consider the degree to which balance can be productively reached by focusing both academic and applied opportunities on achieving competencies and skills set by organizations as COACH and AMIA. It will also note current North American dialogues on standards of professionalism. The presentation will propose a framework for consideration of opportunities and challenges in balancing educational polarities.

      Methodology/Approach: The presentation will explore approaches and methods for applied placements within graduate and post-secondary settings. The placements will be compared, and differences will be highlighted to point to needs in the system. Evidence will be used from targeted employer, student and educator interviews and surveys. Specifically, practicum learning experiences of students attending a professional HI program and employers hosting these placements will be assessed. This will be done via an online questionnaire. An evaluation of career paths, practicum experiences and obtained job positions from graduates of these programs is currently underway and be drawn from, as possible. The presentation will review what elements are foundational to both academic and applied modes of study, how these areas differ and to what effect. Observations will be presented in a framework for balancing theory vs applied practice.

      Finding/Results: Findings will be focused on areas of similarities and differences between academic and applied learning settings. With major evaluation efforts currently underway, the presentation will contribute, if and where possible, findings from health informatics alumni assessment at University of Toronto. An online questionnaire of stakeholders will be used as the basis of a framework to convey findings and results.

      Conclusion/Implication/Recommendations: A framework for balancing polarities will be proposed based on findings and results of anylysis. The framework will serve as a tool with a recommned approach to striking a balance of theory and applied practice that will be useful for students and educators, as well as employers. . An interpretation of how this fits into the changing HI job environment will be made.

      140 Character Summary: Theory vs. applied practice are polarities at the centre of graduate education in health informatics. How do we frame a balance to best enable HI careers?

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    • OS12.04 - Graduating in Health Informatics: Where Do We Go From Here? (ID 224)

      Julia Zarb, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto; Toronto/CA

      • Abstract
      • Slides

      Purpose/Objectives: Health informatics (HI) job prospects are expanding for candidates with graduate education credentials. This presentation will explore the value of professional and research programs’ in terms of achieving desired career pathways. Top of mind for HI students is securing relevant post-graduation positions that meet their HI interests and aspirations. The presentation will look at qualifying and quantifying the risk and rewards of both professional and research tracks of study to meet career goals. In so doing, the differences between research and professional pathways will be discussed. An assessment of positions acquired post-graduation from students at a particular graduate HI Professional and HI Research program will be central to the presentation. Based on responses to an online survey about what types of jobs are desired and attained, this presentation will analyze whether students are being well prepared for HI careers. There will be an assessment of whether graduate professional and research options are currently translating into achievement of immediate and near-term career goals. Consideration will be made of implications from student, academic and employer perspectives, with reference to what seems reasonable in our current Canadian job environment.

      Methodology/Approach: The presentation will explore evaluation approaches and methods for tracking career success and HI pathways by using evidence from the job-market, social media data, interviews and targeted surveys. Specifically, career aspirations of students attending a professional HI program and students attending a HI research program will be determined through an online questionnaire. An evaluation of career paths and obtained job positions from graduates of these programs is currently underway. A comparison of the aspirations and realistic career opportunities will be discussed. The presentation will review what elements are foundational to both professional and research areas of study, and how these areas differ. The methods will be focused on defining the needs of students in both streams. The perspective of educators will also be captured and presented.

      Finding/Results: Findings will be focused on areas of similarities and differences between research and professional stream needs. In addition to targeted survey findings, there is a larger-scale evaluation effort around career aspirations and acquired jobs currently underway. The presentation will contribute, if and where possible, findings from health informatics alumni assessment at University of Toronto.

      Conclusion/Implication/Recommendations: A summary evaluation model will be proposed. Methods for for annual tracking will be also be proposed. An interpretation of the level of need to re-assess programs given the changing HI environment will be made.

      140 Character Summary: Job opportunities are expanding for prospects with graduate health informatics credentials. See how professional and research programs’ lead to career results.

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