The prospect of health informatics in Bangladesh
Health informatics is the discipline at the intersection of healthcare, information science and computer science. It is one of the most rapidly expanding field in the healthcare worldwide. In Bangladesh, it is also getting the attention slowly. There are some institutions coming forward with the aim to build professional expertise in the country. Bangladesh University of Health Science (BUHS) is pioneer among them.
The discipline has demand in the government, NGO and development organisations. The increasing demand within healthcare both locally and internationally is getting traction with the growing need of the huge population in the countries like Bangladesh.
Health informatics integrates data with patient care using cutting edge technology and thus improves the healthcare delivery and access to care; health education and biomedical research; disease prevention; diagnosis; monitoring treatment and outcome; coordination between organisations and healthcare professionals.
BUHS has introduced a masters programme which aims at developing professionals to meet the growing demand in country and abroad. The minimum requirement is an undergraduate degree in medical, dental, nursing, pharmacology or allied health sciences, computer and information sciences or its equivalents from any recognised university.
Dr Sharmin Parveen, Head of the Department of Health Informatics at BUHS informed that their programme was the first masters programme in the region solely on health informatics. They run flexible evening and weekend classes. They deliver courses on highly proclaimed and internationally praised curriculum.
A country like Bangladesh, where we often lack systematic research data in many fields of healthcare, the demand of health informatics is enormous to build the digital platform for measuring and analysing the epidemiological variables and indicators.
The discipline has career prospect in the government and military setup, NGOs, UN organisations, healthcare delivery institutes, medical device and technology companies, medical software companies, healthcare consulting firms, insurance companies, public health organisations and academia.
Depending on the background and field of application, students can be a health information system analyst, monitoring and evaluation specialist, consultant, trainer, project manager, researcher, academician, application specialist, medical information officer, clinical data analyst, health informatics specialist, public health informatics specialist, clinical coordinator or any other relevant professional.
Dr Ali Haider Rashidee, President and CEO of eHealth Solutions and a faculty of BUHS explained, "Health informatics is the ultimate basis of developing a proper Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. It can lead to the political leadership in healthcare by visualising data to the patients to help them realise the benefit of interventions." He also added, "Given the context in Bangladesh, health informatics is not an option but an imperative to improve clinical, financial, societal and national outcomes in healthcare."
The world is advancing way too far incorporating artificial intelligence in every front of technology including the healthcare. Developing health informatics professionals is a demand of time to step into the digital healthcare dividend.