How tech-savvy are you, doc?
N S Soundar Rajan walks students of medicine and physicians through a website that offers a certificate course in Medical Informatics
Medical Informatics is an area of study that includes concepts of information science, computer science and healthcare.
It involves the creation of resources, devices and methods required to optimise collecting, storing and retrieving data in health and biomedicine. The tools used to manage medical information include clinical guidelines, formal medical terminology textbooks and communication systems from areas such as nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health and biomedical research.
Hospitals and information systems companies can now easily retrieve data from Computerised Medical Records; Computer-Assisted Surgery records are used by surgeons to navigate through the human anatomy; Knowledge-based and expert systems update doctors and specialists with the latest technology; Telesurgery captures the hand movements of a surgeon during surgery and converts them into electronic signals for future reference; Telemedicine, a distance management tool in medical and healthcare, is useful for both patients and medical practitioners; and Virtual Environment Software can be used by surgeons who wish to plan and practice surgical procedures.
There are courses that teach doctors, nurses and lab technicians on how to use these tools. These are typically short-term courses provided by various medical colleges through online programmes. These programmes are designed to facilitate standards for the proper management of medical information.
A certification in Medical Informatics has been made mandatory for nurses, physicians, medical librarians, hospital record managers, data analysts, librarians, senior staff in state health departments, programmers and analysts in the United States and the United Kingdom.
If Indian medical professio-nals wish to do a short-term course in Medical Informatics, they should look up www.ehcfsmi.edu.in. The certificate course, offered by eHCF School of Medical Informatics, has been designed specifically for general practitioners and professionals working in the field of medicine and healthcare.
It is a three-month, distance-learning course and costs Rs 3,500. The institute sends students who sign up study material and weekly assignments.
At the end of three months, the students receive a Final Assignment Paper (50 marks) and a Test Paper (50 marks), which they need to solve. On the successful completion of the tests, they get a certificate of merit.
Before signing up for the course, browse the site for an overview of the topics. From computer fundamentals to various case studies and presentations, the website also answers FAQs on Medical Informatics.
Application forms can be downloaded from the website and must be submitted by August 25, 2010. Admission to the next batch starts on September 15, 2010.