UMBC Mic'd Up

Health Information Technology - A Transferable Career

June 06, 2023 UMBC Mic'd Up with Dennise Season 3 Episode 51
UMBC Mic'd Up
Health Information Technology - A Transferable Career
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to UMBC's Mic'd Up Podcast! In this episode, we dive deep into the world of Health Information Technology (Health IT) and explore the exciting opportunities it offers as a transferable career. 

Join us as we chat with Joanne Klinedinst, M.Ed, an esteemed UMBC Health IT graduate program instructor who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Health IT is a rapidly evolving field crucial in the healthcare industry. As technology advances, the healthcare landscape and the role of Health IT professionals are changing. In this captivating conversation, Joanne sheds light on the industry's inner workings, delves into the transferability of skills within this dynamic field, and discusses the growing impact of technology in healthcare.
Throughout the episode, we explore the diverse career opportunities available in Health IT and the vital skills needed to thrive in this fast-paced industry. Joanne shares her insights on the emerging trends and technologies shaping the future of healthcare, highlighting how professionals can stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the ever-evolving demands of this exciting field.

Whether you're an aspiring Health IT professional or intrigued by the intersection of healthcare and technology, we packed this episode with valuable information and eye-opening discussions. Join us as we uncover the transformative power of Health Information Technology and discover how it can be a transferable career with endless possibilities.

About UMBC's Health Information Technology Graduate Programs
UMBC's Health Information Technology Graduate Programs are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the ever-evolving field of Health IT. With a strong emphasis on practical application, these programs offer a comprehensive curriculum combining technical expertise and a deep understanding of healthcare systems and data management. Led by experienced instructors and industry professionals, students can delve into topics such as electronic health records, healthcare analytics, health informatics, privacy and security, and healthcare data management. With a focus on real-world scenarios and hands-on experiences, UMBC's Health Information Technology Graduate Programs prepare students to become leaders in this rapidly growing industry and significantly impact the healthcare landscape.

Dennise Cardona  0:00  
Welcome to this episode of UMBC's Mic'd Up podcast. My name is Dennise Cardona from the Office of Professional Programs here at UMBC. Today we are joined by special guest and instructor in our health information technology graduate program: Joanne Klinedinst. I hope that you enjoy this episode. Welcome, Joanne. It's so wonderful to have you here on UMBC's Mic'd Up podcast. Thanks so much for being here. 

Joanne Klinedinst  0:28  
Sure, Dennise. Thank you. It's a pleasure for me to be here as well.

Dennise Cardona  0:31  
So we're going to talk about the Health IT industry and your role here at UMBC. Which kind of takes me to my first question for you is, can you tell me a little bit about the path that you've taken with your career and how it's landed you here at UMBC teaching?

Joanne Klinedinst  0:47  
Sure. So my path is non-traditional, I was actually an undergraduate business major. And I originally wanted to get into computer science. But I was not able to manage the high level math that was required. So many years ago, I decided that I would take an applications path instead, and actually teach people how to use applications. And it was through my university's computer lab, that I got access to computers. And I thought, Oh, this is wonderful. So I had a passion for education. And that's what I did my first actually, my first job out of college was selling computer business supplies. And although I was good at it, I didn't like it. So then my husband got transferred. And I had the opportunity to apply at a hospital. And I was hired into their role of an application support person, for the executive, secretarial administrators. So it was a really important position. And I helped them with, oh goodness, what were the names, it was debase Excel, and word star. So it was word processing, database, and spreadsheet applications. And the rest is history. At that point, I became a member of HIMSS, which is the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which is a global organization that health IT professionals belong to. And through my, my career in the hospital setting, I had an opportunity to do all kinds of things. So I started helping executive support admins, with, you know, typical applications. Then I moved into healthcare information technology, and HIMSS was my professional society. So fast forward, about 18 years later, I ended up working for HIMSS and earned a master's in adult education, and had an opportunity to respond to a column from career world about the future of health IT and the workforce. And it was at that point, looking at the job board, that I saw this job with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County was open. And by this point, I had earned a master's in adult ed. And I had always wanted to teach, but it wasn't the right time. It wasn't the right course, one point I, you know, had, I could develop a course but I didn't want to do that either. And I saw Dr. Van dykes posting on job mine, and the rest is history. So it's it's a very unusual path. But this is how I got to UMBC. And quite happy to be here.

Dennise Cardona  3:56  
I love, love, love hearing the pathways that people take to get here and with their career, because I think about you know, when you first started your your undergraduate studies, right? Probably this was not even a field that was of consideration, because maybe it didn't even really exist. It was in pure infancy. And I feel that way about like what I'm doing at UMBC right now, podcasting, videography. When I first started in my career, YouTube wasn't a thing. Social media wasn't a thing. Podcasting was not a thing. There was radio, but that wasn't even a consideration on my end. So it's, I love how technology advances us forward and opens up opportunities that a decade or two decades before that we didn't even realize these opportunities existed. And so that's exciting for our students, I think because who knows what's going to be on the landscape 10 years from now?

Joanne Klinedinst  4:52  

Dennise Cardona  4:54  
What excites you most about being in the health IT field?

Joanne Klinedinst  4:57  
Oh, I love of health IT field. And when I joined the hospital setting, it was not quote unquote cool to work in healthcare, the pay was lower, you can make lots more money in industry. But there was a, there was an attraction. Because of the mission, the focus on helping people help, even though I wasn't in a direct patient care environment, I could help those who were in a direct patient care environment. And in any typical community hospital setting, there 65 or so different departments, where one could, you know, really advanced to, if you're, you have a passion for health IT, but also a passion for finance, you can move into the finance area, or if you wanted to specialize in some other aspect of health IT such as radiology, cardiology, or something like that there's always something for someone in a healthcare environment. And that, that is what really fuels my passion. And it's so true today, with the focus on digital health transformation, which, which is changing the way care is delivered globally. And that's what's exciting about it.

Dennise Cardona  6:29  
Yes, can you talk a little bit about the nature of the health IT industry for maybe those who are listening or viewing this on YouTube, who may not even be aware of what this industry has to offer?

Speaker 2  6:43  
Sure. So the health IT industry is focused primarily around digital health transformation. So beginning with federal U.S. regulations, called the The ARRA Act, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, that provided upwards of $20 billion for hospital organizations to implement electronic health records. And that really set the path because prior to this, there were paper records and paper records get lost, they're illegible, and they're just fraught with, with error. So moving into a digital world is really, really critical. And to do that, there's all kinds of technologies that need to be accounted for. There's something known as interoperable systems, where you enter information one time, and then it should pass or transfer to other systems that need that information as well. So because of this, there are a tremendous amount of opportunities. And with the current conversation around artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, the possibilities are just endless. And it's just so exciting to know that this electronic data that electronic information is being captured can be turned into data, and then even accelerate the care delivery that, that is occurring. So I'm excited about it. There's something for everyone from a healthcare perspective. And if I healthcare IT professional continues to really engage with professional development. Over the course of their career, they will learn so much. And the importance of the graduate program and Information Technology at UMBC is the background that the students are given. And although the course I teach right now is an introductory course 658 Healthcare Informatics one, the concepts that are being communicated are real world, I deal with a lot of this stuff every day, in my role as a vice president for professional development and helping health IT professionals around the world.

Dennise Cardona  9:22  
It sounds like you bring a wealth of information to the classroom, because I know I've talked to so many students and alum, and alums of our programs. And that's the one thing that they say they love most about UMBC is that their professors are typically industry practitioners who are living and breathing, the stuff that they are teaching and they're able to bring those examples of what the real world is like. And to me that's the most important qualifier of a really great graduate program and experience is being able to walk out of that program with real world experience and knowing getting that information first hand from people doing the work out there in the field. 

Joanne Klinedinst  10:02  
Yeah. And Denise, that's really, really important because one of the vehicles that I use is case study analysis. And my peers use this as well. But we focus on what's called a HIMSS Davies award winning organization. So these are organizations that apply for and are recognized as being at the pinnacle of health information, digital and digital health transformation. And what I was able to accomplish in my first semester teaching was actually have a guest speaker, from the organization who was able to take the students from the point of the case study to nine months later and where the organization resided. So in my second semester, I brought in another guest speaker, who actually was a Johns Hopkins graduate, but he played a band, in a band at UMBC. So there was that, that nice connection. And he was able to speak about the role of standards and interoperability, which oh, by the way, is one of the chapters that the students had focused on. So being able to bring this real life testimony into the classroom is really, really important. And I'm seeking to do more, more guest speakers because it just resonates so well with our students.

Dennise Cardona  11:27  
Now, let's do a little segue into what do you feel health IT organizations or teams need from employees in terms of their skills and abilities and knowledge base?

Joanne Klinedinst  11:42  
Sure. So first and foremost, is the willingness to be part of a team and to accept collaboration, all that collaboration brings to it to really take the point of being able to agree to disagree, and also assuming various roles, because for example, one project and healthcare is full of projects. It's full of collaborative groups that come together with the purpose of accomplishing whatever the task may be, whether that's installing a new piece of technology, whether it's upgrading something, or whether it's achieving federal, federal regulatory requirements needed, you know, for some area of the healthcare organization, so that, that spirit and willingness of working in a collaborative environment is really, really important. Also, the willingness to continue one's professional development. And yes, the academic world will prepare a student to work in health information technology, but really looking at any number of topics that may fuel an emerging leader as HIMSS calls, new entrants into health information technology, being able to research that topic and continue to learn, I myself, I have seven different professional certifications, and the initials are crazy. And each one has a specific intent. So I'm a PMP, for, for example, as a Project Management Professional, so I am continually up to date on the world of project management, and agile and what that means. But if I didn't have a professional certification in which I needed to maintain, I probably wouldn't have an interest in that. And another area is talent development. So I'm a certified talent development professional, which means I have a tremendous background in instructional design and online learning and even helping, help IT professionals. So the important things are willingness to work in a collaborative environment, willingness to continue one's professional development and education and then finally, the tenacity to continue when things become difficult. And there's many challenges in a healthcare setting with systems that don't talk with one, to talk to one another, to projects that are massive and may incur delays. But that tenacity is really, really important for an emerging leader in a health IT setting. 

Dennise Cardona  14:50  
You've summed that up so wonderfully. Absolutely. What would you say in your opinion, are like the top benefits that people would get? At from working in the health IT industry, and maybe there from your own experience, but when you talking when you are dealing with students, and maybe they're on the fence, not sure if they should go into this field, what would you tell them are the top advantages or benefits of being in it?

Joanne Klinedinst  15:15  
So, healthcare is global, that you become a database analyst at a hospital in the Greater Baltimore area, you can take those very skill sets and go work in your home country of England, India, wherever it may be. Because the vendors and the market suppliers that deliver health information technology solutions, they're global as well. So Cerner, which is now Oracle, they are global, Epic is global. Meditec is global. So these skills are readily transferable from one area to another. And the American Hospital Association just recently identified, there's 6090 hospitals in the United States alone. And internationally, there's more than 25,000 hospitals, and those are just hospitals. Then you also have clinics that support hospitals, you also have market suppliers that support the technologies that are installed in a hospital setting. And then you also have consultants. So, which is a great way to really test the waters to see where your passion may exist with health IT.

Dennise Cardona  16:39  
So the world is wide open with opportunity for anybody who may be interested in this this field. And yeah, how does our program at UMBC prepares students to go out there into the field once they graduate?

Joanne Klinedinst  16:55  
Sure. So with the rigors of the concepts that are addressed, it really gives the UMBC students a solid grounding in the concepts of health informatics or healthcare information technology. So based on the coursework that's required of them. It's collaboration by working in teams, it's the ability to research something a particular topic, and it exposes them to many facets of health information technology. So for example, the 658 courses, health informatics, one and two, it's a really fast, broad brush base, across many, many aspects of health IT. But out of that, interoperability is a great example of that we have, I personally have a student who's very interested in health information exchange, and that's international. So, so that's one example that one particular item may spark a passion and a student. And United States certainly has HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But now Europe has their health data space regulation, which is modeled after what the United States is doing. All of a sudden, if you know a little bit about HIPAA, you can, you know, just possibly look for those opportunities that will allow you to work globally as well. And I like to say that health information technology is a global language, it certainly is a global industry. But those concepts are transferable. Just like music, music is an international language, those concepts are transferable regardless of where you go. And healthcare is the same.

Dennise Cardona  18:52  
Extremely valuable for, for people who that is really one of the big tenants of a really good program is something that is transferable. You're not tunneled into some field that maybe you might not even like once you're done studying in it.

Joanne Klinedinst  19:08  
Right? And now that is really, really important. Because out of this, you may, you know, one may become a data analyst. One could focus on Help Desk or IT service desk. The possibilities are just endless, but it's that exposure and knowing you know what, what drives your passion. And I encourage students to create a portfolio of the content that I provide to them. I'm sure other instructors do the same. But this way the students can refer back to the topics that we talked about and you know, certainly with access, you know, to peers and to courses that follow on it's just a really good way to build one's professional competency in the academic setting.

Dennise Cardona  20:04  
In your opinion, what can students do to get the most out of this program? So when they're entering this, what would your advice be to them?

Joanne Klinedinst  20:14  
I would say, look at the content not as "oh, I have to do this quiz." "oh, I have to get 100% on this midterm," "oh, I have to do this paper," really take a step back and immerse oneself and really look at the possibilities that there are within health IT, you know, really through the through the coursework, and through the paper, you know, creating a team based paper, really taking others perspectives into consideration as well. So not only having a sense of an idea of where you'd like to focus your time, but also, you know, really immerse oneself with others that may have similar or even differing opinions.

Dennise Cardona  21:10  
That is solid advice. It's so important to be able to have those critical conversations with people who have, who view life and view everything through a different lens and we're used to viewing it. 

Joanne Klinedinst  21:21  

Dennise Cardona  21:21  
That's how you grow and expand and learn new ways of, of being able to tackle some of life's toughest challenges out there. Joanne, this has been a really insightful conversation, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it's just eye opening so many opportunities for people. Thank you for sharing your insights with us today.

Joanne Klinedinst  21:42  
I, it's a pleasure to be here. Denise. Thank you for this opportunity. And I look forward to helping in any way that I possibly can for the students, which are the future of health information technology.

Dennise Cardona  21:56  
Thanks so much for listening to this episode. I hope that you enjoyed it. If you'd like to learn more about our offerings, do a quick search for UMBC Health Information Technology graduate program, or simply click the link in the show notes.