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Podcast series probes medical students’ questions on health IT

Timothy M. Smith , Contributing News Writer

EHRs, e-prescribing, remote patient monitoring, telemedicine. Health IT is integrated into just about every facet of health care. Still, it isn't part of the standard medical school curriculum, which can leave medical students at a loss when entering clerkships and residency.

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A new collection of episodes in the AMA's "Making the Rounds" podcast series provides insights into health IT survival skills. Each episode features an interview with a physician, entrepreneur or other expert about their work in this essential space.

"It's no surprise that digital health is here to stay, but its presence in the undergraduate medical curriculum is lacking," said AMA member Matthew J. Swanson (@matthewjswanson), one of the hosts of the podcast, in a separate interview.

Swanson is chair of the AMA Medical Student Section Committee on Health Information Technology (AMA-MSS CHIT) and a third-year medical student at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, in North Haven, Connecticut. The AMA-MSS CHIT researches and reports on gaps in AMA-MSS policy on topics such as EHRs, medical data standards and telemedicine.

"Ready or not, the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled health care providers into the digital health landscape," Swanson said. "Medical students need to be up to date on health IT because this is our future. The rapid and agile integration of new health care technologies has become a professional obligation."

But it's not just a matter of clinical care, said Kristofer Jackson, a second-year medical student at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, in Toledo, Ohio, another host of the podcast and a member of AMA-MSS CHIT.

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"Health IT is probably the most dynamic research area in medicine right now. The gains in research will shape medicine for years to come," he noted. "We're trying to provide relaxed and easily digestible introductions on areas of health IT that can lead to further research and investigation by the listener."

To adequately investigate health IT, medical students need insights from physicians and non-physicians alike. The series includes interviews with experts from numerous health-related professions who take time to connect the dots.

Episodes include:

  1. Data expert and engineer Nitesh Chawla, PhD, shares his perspective on using data for common good

    An expert in artificial intelligence and network science and professor of computer science and engineering at University of Notre Dame, Chawla talks about using health data for the common good and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health IT.
  2. Leveraging health IT and data to understand patient outcomes with Joseph Ross, MD, MHS

    Dr. Ross, a professor of medicine and public health at Yale School of Medicine, gives a glimpse of his research work exploring the regulation of medical devices and pharmaceuticals to understand and improve patient outcomes.
  3. Life sciences attorney discusses health technology patenting and strategizing

    Katherine Ann Rubino, PharmD, a patent attorney at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, in Boston, talks about the intersections of technology and health care, including artificial intelligence, biotechnology and patient privacy.
  4. Outside the box: Creative use of big data in medical research

    Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, shares his experience with the creative use of data in medical research.
  5. Surgeon discusses advancing technology to increase transparency in health care

    Marty Makary, MD, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discusses accountability in health care and how technological advances are changing the way physicians practice medicine and empower patients.

The "Making the Rounds" podcast features advice, interviews and discussions on the most important topics impacting the lives and careers of pre-med students, medical students and residents. Previous episodes explored health systems science, wellness, student loans and contracting.

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