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Personal Statement for PHD in Health Informatics

Jan 11, 2010   #1
I seem to be tying myself in knots over this essay. I'd appreciate any sincere feedback on the structure and form of this essay and tips on improving it.

thnx in advance
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I am applying for the Ph.D. Program in Bio Health Informatics at University of Washington for the fall of 2010 as I would like to pursue a career in the research, development and teaching of methodologies, processes and tools that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of information flow as well as usage in the healthcare setting. I would like the output of my work and research to have significant influence towards improving patient care outcomes whilst reducing information costs in the entire healthcare ecosystem. My focus areas are:

a) Clinical Informatics b) Personal Health Informatics
I am currently working with the [Institute Name] at University of Washington to address de-duplication issue of Patient data: one of my interests aligned with my focus are of Clinical Informatics. I hope to gainfully contribute to the project and establish it as the cornerstone to pursue my PhD and research at University of Washington. I believe my Bio-medical training, my work at a technology company as well as a hospital and finally my research background will help me succeed in my endeavors

My passion and motivation for further study and research in Bio Health Informatics is driven by intellectual curiosity and my latest work experiences at [Name of Company], an e-commerce startup in the education space and [Hospital Name]Hospital, one of the nation's top research hospitals in the field of orthopedics. At the [Hospital Name], I worked as a Research Engineer supporting treatment design for patients with Neuromusculoskeletal diseases. In this role, while performing analysis, I noticed that patient data was duplicated multiple times due to concerns over HIPAA privacy regulations. This caused an inordinate amount of time, money and resources spent on data cleansing rather than leveraging data for decision support and analytics that improve patient outcomes. Intrigued by this experience, I researched the market only to conclude that in an industry where having patient information instantly accessible and at fingertips in an easy-to-use format are paramount, technology solutions simply haven't been as convenient, portable or reliable as needed. Also, today, in the United States roughly 85 percent of healthcare providers still rely on paper-based tools for record keeping. A typical U.S. hospital has multiple different information systems, most of which don't work together very well and hence there is redundancy and duplication of data across all these systems. This experience helped me identify a huge opportunity to leverage information technology in order to improve the efficiency of health care system.

Armed with this interest in the power of Information technology, I took up a job as Quality Assurance Engineer with an internet startup company that was aiming to solve a similar information flow problem in the sphere of US K-12 education. It was mind boggling for me to note the similarities in operations as well as issues between the education space and the healthcare industry. Both these industries are regulated with funding support and heavy involvement from the government, both of them have fragmented IT solutions that function in silos and not together in a seamless fashion and finally in education industry too there is significant opportunity to improve student outcomes and teacher effectiveness just as in healthcare with patient outcomes and provider effectiveness using technology. My role involved supporting the development of an integrated technology platform that caters to the information needs of TAPS (Teachers, Administrators, Parents and Students) ecosystem in education. I gained significant experience in application design, development and lifecycle testing of enterprise software solutions. This role provided a unique opportunity to apply my problem solving skills and my design experience as well as translate the learning of information ambiguity in the Healthcare industry to the education space.

My research work started with my education, Masters in Mechanical Engineering Design at [Name of University]. I worked on identifying and designing an alternate material to replace steel in worm gears. I was successfully able to apply the theory of Mechanical engineering learnt during my undergraduate as well as graduate work to complete the project that resulted in a thesis paper I had co-authored with my research guide Prof. [Professor Name] that was published in [Journal Name].

Subsequently, the challenge of applying the concepts of engineering design to the human body fascinated me and I ended up completing another Masters in Bio-Medical Engineering from [Name of University] under the auspices of Dr. [Professor Name] and Dr. [Professor Name]. Simultaneously I worked as a research engineer at the [Institute Name] where I had the opportunity to work with Orthopedic Surgeons, Academicians, Biologists and Scholars on innovative methods to treat knee ligament injuries. This was a multi-faceted role where I was not only involved in grant writing and establishing research protocols but also experimentation and data analysis. My work resulted in four research projects funded by NIH and two research papers in [Journal Name] and [Journal Name]. In the course of my graduate work I was honored with two fellowships and an honor society membership for academic excellence.

My work experience, ability to apply and translate relevant concepts to diverse settings and my passion to engage in seminal research coupled with my engineering skills will help me succeed in the domain of Healthcare informatics. On the clinical informatics front I would like to work on address issues related to data duplication and redundancy as well as develop process streams that are in compliance with HIPAA without increasing data entry efforts while reducing costs of patient data management. Since I've started working with [Institute Name], I am interested in working with Dr.[Professor Name] and Dr.[Professor Name] in this regard. On the personal health informatics, I am keen on developing tools that will drive an understanding of factors contributing to childhood obesity and overweight and subsequently design a user-friendly interface to guide them to a healthy lifestyle. Having worked earlier with Dr.[Professor Name] on the effect of low health literacy on healthcare care costs in the diverse populations, I hope to continue the association and learn design strategies for data collection and analysis in public health organizations from her. The "Common Ground" project is highly interesting because it is close to my research interests as it aims to develop the information system. Dr. .[Professor Name] work also interests me a lot as I hope to learn concepts of Cognitive Work Analysis and how to integrate use of computers in healthcare settings.

The Bio-Medical Health Informatics PhD program at University of Washington is uniquely positioned at the cross roads of Information technology and Healthcare Industry. Hence, I believe it is the best academic setting to help me reach my goal of contributing towards the creation of a knowledge driven healthcare by turning a fragmented system into an integrated and informed network of providers and consumers.

Jan 12, 2010   #2
My focus areas are:
a) Clinical Informatics b) Personal Health Informatics

Make this a full sentence:
My focus areas are Clinical Informatics and Personal Health Informatics.
EF_KevinThreads: 8
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[Contributor] 129  
Jan 18, 2010   #4
This is some very strong writing!

I feel like something might be mising when you say this---> I would like the output of my work and research to have significant influence towards improving patient care outcomes whilst reducing information costs in the entire healthcare ecosystem ------ it is a complex sentence that is intelligently articulated, but it is so general. "Improving outcomes is general, and when you say you hope to reduce costs, it makes me want to know what you have in mind.

Like I said, it is already strong writing, but maybe in the intro paragraph you can give an idea about what you have in mind for achieving these lofty goals. I see that you refer to some important concepts in the essay, so maybe these are the ones you should mention in the intro as you make this claim to have this aspiration.

This concept should be given more focus---> ...work on addressing issues related to data duplication and redundancy as well as develop process streams that are in compliance with HIPAA without increasing data entry efforts while reducing costs of patient data management.---- it is a long, complex sentence, but it is great, because it expresses a specific idea.

Hi upadms,

I am applying for PhD in Health Informatics / Health Information Management in various Canadian Universities. Today I read your PS which you drafted in 2010, and hopefully you maybe in the ending part of your PhD.

As a senior in this entirely new field (Health Informatics), I need your advise, suggestion, and guidance before starting my PhD. I am a medical doctor by profession, and did Masters in Health Informatics in 2010, since then I am working in a university in Middle East (HIM Department) but now I realize that in order to further continue career in University, I need to upgrade myself by doing PhD.

I would be very thankful to you if you can write some words to further broaden my vision and thinking in pursuing PhD in HI.


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