Category Archives: Education

How Can A Healthcare Informatics Professional Improve A Healthcare Facility?

As a medical professional with a masters in health informatics, one would be tasked with documenting, storing, managing and using the available medical data to improve the condition of healthcare facilities at an institution. In fact, their roles have now become indispensable in any modern facility as the systems associated with managing data are becoming more and more complex with each passing day. To understand how the health information specialists are instrumental in shaping a better tomorrow for patients and the healthcare industry as a whole, let us discuss the following points.

Diversity in Knowledge and Practice

During an online MSHI degree course, a student has to go through diverse fields of study which will include but are not limited to IT security, database management, information systems, medical coding and, of course, relevant healthcare studies. They use all of this knowledge and the associated training in combination with each other to locate, organize, store, interpret, secure, and utilize massive volumes of medical data on a regular basis. As one can imagine, this essentially makes an expert HI professional one of the most important people in any medical facility.

What Else Can They Do Other than Sorting Data?

Every good HI professional does much more than just sorting medical data, even though that in itself is a very demanding job. The following are a few examples of what else the Health Informaticist often brings to the table when they join an establishment.

  • Data analysis that help administrators take decisions
  • Suggestion and development of various new improvements in terms of patient experience on the basis of data interpretation
  • Suggestion and development of strategies to cut down on expenses based on intel, data, and collaboration from other departments at the facility
  • Development and implementation of systems that measure how effective the current system of patient care is, based strictly on data
  • Interpretation and communication of medical data across departments for smoother and faster workflow

Growing Demand

The demand for healthcare informaticists are at an all-time high as more and more positions for health information resource managers, clinical data analysts, IT consultants and Health Information directors are opening up. Hiring agencies mainly include government hospitals, private hospitals, clinics, government/private agencies, and consulting firms. Technology is now an inseparable part of medical science and without the people with knowledge in multiple departments, it is slowly becoming an impossible task to manage everything efficiently.

As healthcare informatics is an interdisciplinary field of study, most experts suggest that future professionals should opt for an online program as it allows them to complete the necessary training while completing another course in some other field. For example, a trained nurse who has also completed an online MSHI program doesn’t only have much better career opportunities in the future but he/she can also become an asset to any organization. The only thing to keep in mind is that the degree should always be completed from a reputable university with the necessary affiliations that ensure quality education.

What Sets Correctional Medicine Apart

Correctional medicine staff provide medically necessary care to some of America’s nearly 2 million incarcerated people. This non-traditional health care environment has unique challenges that teach important lessons

The Patients Don’t Leave, So You Improve Communication Skills  
In traditional health care environments, patients and providers fire each other. Firings can happen for a number of reasons.  Maybe the patient disagrees with the provider’s recommendations.  Or perhaps the patient violated a care plan, and the provider announces that the patient needs to seek care elsewhere.  Regardless of the reason, patients in the outside world can often find new providers. In correctional medicine, patients are not free to seek care elsewhere.
Patients and providers will continue to disagree.  In correctional medicine settings, both parties need to find a way to move past it.  Providers will need to maintain boundaries while providing medically necessary care.  These are difficult conversations with a variety of factors to consider.  Yet these discussions will teach (and solidify) valuable de-escalation skills.

All the Patients Know Each Other, So You Practice Fairness  
In traditional health care environments, patients do not know each other.  There is no opportunity for patients to discuss their clinical experiences.  In correctional medicine, all patients share the same providers.  Given that, there is a much greater opportunity for patients to discuss their clinical experiences with each other.  Any provider that is perceived as doing a favor for one patient will be asked to do the same for others.  Correctional medicine providers need to ensure that they are treating all of their patients similarly.
Providers in correctional medicine have the chance to provide medical care to their patients without considering the person’s financial status (or their ability to pay.)  The opportunity to provide fair care is unique to correctional medicine because providers in traditional health care environments consider the impact and the importance of insurance payments dramatically.

Your Patients Are Always Around, So You Can Witness Daily Life and Disease Progression
A fascinating part of medicine is watching a patient’s daily life, and how their disease progresses. Often, health care providers in traditional settings only get to see snapshots of the patient’s progression.  So they mark the changes between today and the patient’s last appointment.  Although providers can surmise about what the patient experienced between appointments—they don’t know for sure.
Correctional medicine providers do not have to surmise.  Instead they get to witness aspects of their patients in daily life.  A few providers note that the correctional medicine environment gives them much more exposure to witness disease progression than they did in traditional settings.

Working in correctional medicine has a unique set of challenges and learning opportunities.  Correctional medicine may not be the right fit for everybody.

Correctional Facility Nursing. Minority Nurse, 7 February 2016, Accessed February 9, 2017.
Correctional medicine. Wikipedia, 2 June 2016, Accessed February 7, 2017.
Giang, Vivian. Jailhouse Doctor Shares What It’s Like To Care For The Most Dangerous People In the World. Business Insider, 20 March 2013, Accessed January 31, 2017.
Keller, Jeffrey. Correctional Medicine is Different: Our Patients Don’t Go Home!, Accessed February 7, 2017.
Keller, Jeffrey.  Correctional Medicine: The Principles of Fairness.,  Accessed February 7, 2017.
Keller, Jeffrey. Correctional Medicine is Different: All Clinical Encounters are Discussed in the Dorm., Accessed February 7, 2017.
Keller, Jeffrey. Correctional Medicine is Different: We Can’t Fire Our Patients-and They Can’t Fire Us!, Accessed February 7, 2017.

Healthcare Admin: 4 Things to Expect in Training

Congratulations on your new job!  Here are some things to expect in your first few weeks at a healthcare front desk.

  1. Training: Your new employer will offer the necessary training for their organization. Larger companies may host trainings that involve meetings with human resources, department leaders, and clinic managers.  Other organizations may simply offer an individual meeting with HR and some on-the-job training time.
  2. Take Notes: On your first day, bring a notebook and pen.  Take notes.  Even if you never plan to use them, taking notes signals that you’re serious about learning your new role. Plus, one of your new colleagues is taking time to make sure you’re prepared for your new job. Writing down what they tell you signals that you take their opinion seriously.
  3. Ask questions: While you’re training, some things will be confusing.  Ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand what your trainer is saying.  During your first few weeks, people recognize that you’re learning your role.  So take the time to ask lots of questions. Eventually, people will anticipate that you’re learning and implementing the knowledge from training.
  4. Start Doing: Trainings are intended to provide foundational knowledge about your role, clinic services, and operating guidelines.  Unfortunately no training will prepare you for all possible questions and concerns.  Yet working at a healthcare front desk is inherently unpredictable.

What your manager is looking for:  Due to the unpredictable (and perpetually changing) nature of healthcare front desks, your manager is paying close attention to how you approach unexpected situations. Most people approach these situations one of two ways.  Employees in the first group freeze.  They get flustered and simply tell the patient that they cannot help them.  Those in the second group pause.  They take a moment and tell the patient, “I’m not sure, but let me find out for you.”  Clinic managers are looking for employees in the second group.

Starting a new job is stressful for both the employee and employer.  Ultimately both parties are looking for the elusive right fit.  The hiring process is designed to be tough, because working at a healthcare front desk is difficult.  You got the job by impressing those on the interview team.   While in training, take time to learn about the role, clinic, and organization.  Learn about your manager, coworkers, and providers.  Use whatever tools needed to learn the role and figure out how to be successful at it.  When asked something unexpected, instead of getting flustered, smile and tell them, “That’s a great question.  Let me find out for you.”  It’s a simple answer, but it goes a long way.


Is a Masters in Public Health the Right Study Path for Your Career Goals?

The following post is a guest contribution

The public health field is one which is rapidly growing. More people than ever before are starting their careers in this field due not only to its quick rate of growth, but also for the massive range of benefits it offers to them. There are many reasons why pursuing a career in public health and obtaining a master of public health degree is definitely a worthwhile venture. If you are considering entering this field but are still stuck trying to work out whether or not it is the best option for you, here are just some of the reasons why this growing field makes for a great career choice.

Job Growth

When you have studied for a public health degree online, you will be entering a career in a field which has grown significantly in the past few years. In fact, the growth of the public health sector is well above the national average, with demand for workers in the field growing rapidly. This means that those who are thinking of getting a degree in public health or a related topic will usually be able to find a job in the industry, no matter what. More than half of the fastest-growing jobs in the USA are in the field of public health.

Job Security

Although this point is closely related to the first advantage, it’s definitely worth mentioning on its own. Having a stable career is something which means less stress and more enjoyment in your life, so it is absolutely vital to choose a field of study and work which offers as much security as possible. Thanks to the growing demand in the public health sector which doesn’t seem set to slow down just yet, you may well have a job for life.


If you are looking for a career opportunity which is full of variety and allows you to learn a whole number of different things and work in various positions, taking a master’s degree in public health is a great idea. When you work in public health, there are many different roles available which you will be able to work in, and numerous specialties all around the nation. A public health master’s degree gives you the opportunity to either diversify your career or focus on specific areas of it.


If you are considering studying for a master’s degree in the field of public health, there are many chances that it could lead to a leadership position. If you want a career where there are many opportunities for growth, promotion and career progression, public health is definitely a great choice to make. In many cases, a public health career leads to working in a leadership or management position in a certain field or organization, with many rewarding and abundant opportunities available to you.

These are just a few of the main advantages of getting an advanced qualification in public health. If you are looking for a rewarding, stable career which allows you to help others on a national and global scale, this industry is a great choice.

Benefits To Working In An Educational Healthcare System

Guest Post by Emily Manahan

Healthcare organizations come in all shapes and sizes. There are small offices, medium sized partnerships, and large healthcare organizations. Educational healthcare systems are often among the largest of these organizations. Associated with graduate medical schools, these educational healthcare organizations typically employ thousands of staff in a variety of roles. Their staff have access to some big benefits.

A better understanding of the healthcare ecosystem. Working within a large organization gives staff a chance to witness how different departments interlock and support each other.

More exposure. Educational healthcare systems tend to attract well-known and respected providers. Our doctors are regularly sought after for their expertise in the specialty. A few times, national news crews have arrived to interview doctors. It is an honor to be on the same team with leading doctors. A few former coworkers have maintained relationships with some of the clinic doctors even after they moved onto other positions.

More recognition. In a large organization, staff are recognized by where they work. When job opportunities become available, managers and medical directors often have internal candidates in mind. For example, one of our physician’s assistants recently took an inpatient position in our department. When the job became available, she was approached as a top choice. Since she already worked within the organization, people knew what she was capable of.

More resources. Unsurprisingly, educational healthcare systems have a greater focus on education. This comes in many forms. There are monthly lunchtime lectures on a variety of topics. If that isn’t interesting, grand rounds are available. Many people also take college classes that are offered outside of their work time. However, some managers even support taking work related classes during shifts.

Regardless of the size of the specific organization, healthcare is a complex and evolving field. All staff have opportunities to learn, grow, and connect around every corner. Due to their size and prestige, educational healthcare systems offer a unique set of benefits to their staff. Their employees invariably benefit from access to more exposure, more recognition, more resources, and a better understanding of the healthcare ecosystem.

Washington State Nursing Programs (Oct, 2015)


Washington State Nursing Programs (Oct, 2015)
LPN Green River Community College Auburn
LPN Olympic College Bremerton
LPN Edmonds Community College Lynnwood
LPN Skagit Valley College Oak Harbor
LPN South Puget Sound Community College Olympia
LPN North Seattle College Seattle
LPN Bates Technical College Tacoma
LPN Clover Park Technical College Tacoma
LPN to BSN Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma
ADN Grays Harbor College Aberdeen
ADN Bellevue College  Bellevue
ADN Whatcom Community College  Bellingham
ADN Bellingham Technical College Bellingham
ADN Olympic College  Bremerton
ADN Centralia College Centralia
ADN Highline Community College  Des Moines
ADN Everett Community College  Everett
ADN Lake WA Institute of Technology Kirkland
ADN Clover Park Technical College Lakewood
ADN Lower Columbia College  Longview
ADN Big Bend Community College  Moses Lake
ADN Skagit Valley College Mt Vernon
ADN South Puget Sound Community College Olympia
ADN Columbia Basin College  Pasco
ADN Peninsula College Port Angeles
ADN Pierce College Puyallup
ADN Renton Technical College Renton
ADN Seattle Central College  Seattle
ADN Shoreline Community College  Seattle
ADN North Seattle College  Seattle
ADN Spokane Community College  Spokane
ADN Tacoma Community College  Tacoma
ADN Phone: 360-736-9391 Vancouver
ADN Walla Walla Community College  Walla Walla
ADN Wenatchee Valley College  Wenatchee
ADN Yakima Valley Community College  Yakima
ADN to BSN Bellevue College  Bellevue
ADN to BSN University of Washington – Bothell Bothell
ADN to BSN Olympic College Bremerton
ADN to BSN Saint Martin’s University Lacey
BSN Northwest University  Kirkland
BSN Washington State University Richland
BSN Seattle Pacific University  Seattle
BSN Seattle University  Seattle
BSN University of Washington  Seattle
BSN University of Washington Seattle
BSN Washington State University Spokane
BSN Gonzaga University  Spokane
BSN Pacific Lutheran University  Tacoma
BSN Heritage University Toppenish
BSN Walla Walla University  Walla Walla
BSN Washington State University Yakima
RN to MSN Seattle Pacific University Seattle
RN to MSN Gonzaga University Spokane
Master’s Entry Seattle University Seattle
Master’s Entry Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma
MN University of Washington Bothell
MN University of Washington Seattle
MS University of Washington Seattle
MSN Seattle Pacific University Seattle
MSN Seattle University Seattle
MSN Gonzaga University Spokane
MSN  Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma
Post Masters DNP Gonzaga University Spokane
DNP Seattle University Seattle
DNP University of Washington Seattle
PhD University of Washington Seattle

Job Seekers: Balancing the 3 legged stool: Where, What, and How Much?

A quality of life discussion that each person (or couple) needs to decide for themselves:

Where do you want to live?

What do you want to do?

How much do you want to make?

I only had one practical chance to consider these options and I’m thankful that I took it. I was able to start with the, Where? That led me to the, What? After which I determined the, How Much?

Everyone needs to process in their own way and in their own time. Maybe it’s the empty-nest ‘do-over’ or a mid-life crisis that prompts you to seek new opportunities. But wherever you are, it’s not too late to take control of your career and your quality of life.

Every job has its ups and downs; that’s why they pay us and call it ‘work.’ The trick is to find a career that’s cup filling (fulfilling) vs. cup draining (depressing).

So take charge of your career! Investigate your options. Go to the applicable Professional Associations to learn the specific certifications within each scope of practice. Then visit a local chapter meeting to network and learn more.


UW Research #1 in the U.S. and #4 in the World!


UW Research is #1 in the nation for scientific research by public universities, and #4 in the world! National Taiwan University uses two scientific databases to analyze productivity, research impact and research excellence. UW’s world-wide rankings also include: #3 for Geosciences; #5 for Pharmacology/Toxicology; #5 in Life Sciences; #8 in Clinical Medicine; and #9 in Social Sciences. INCREDIBLE! Congratulations University of Washington!


Job Seekers: What Do You Want To Do?

Job Seekers: Balancing the 3 legged stool: Where, What, and How Much?

A quality of life discussion that each person (or couple) needs to decide for themselves:

  1. Where do you want to live?
  2. What do you want to do?
  3. How much do you want to make?

What Do You Want To Do

What do you want to do?

Experienced #Registered Nurses and #Physical Therapists are at 0% unemployment. The number of RNs being advertised by hospitals in the Seattle metro area (Tacoma to Bellevue to Everett) exceeds the number of available Nurses. Same with PTs and, arguably, OTs (#Occupational Therapists).

RNs: Not everyone can handle Critical Care Nursing (whether CCU, CICU, CVICU or ICU). Similarly, Hospice, Long Term Care and Geriatric can be cup-filling for one person and not for another. And L&D vs. NICU is another example.

PT Specialist Certifications include: Cardiovascular/Pulmonary; Clinical Electrophysiology; Geriatrics; Neurology; Orthopedics; Pediatrics; Sports; and Women’s Health. Lots of choices.

Every job has its ups and downs; that’s why they pay us and call it ‘work.’ The trick is to find a career that’s cup filling (fulfilling) vs. cup draining (depressing).

So take charge of your career! Investigate your options. Go to the applicable Professional Associations to learn the specific certifications within each scope of practice. Then visit a local chapter meeting to network and learn more.


Alzheimer’s Minimization (updated)

Alzheimer’​s is an insidious disease. It’s no wonder there are so many Caregiver Support groups, including online groups and 24×7 Helplines for those who can’t leave their patient alone. Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers is excellent.

We’ve received  two additions to our earlier post and embedded them, below, with the suggestions that have made a difference in our patient. These are not complicated or expensive, but they do take some diligence.

A summary of what we’re doing food-wise:

  1. 4-5 oz of 100% Concord grape juice in the morning with his medications to reduce brain plaque (Prevention magazine said red or purple grapes)
  2. Substitute pure coconut oil for other oils whenever possible (coconut oil idea per Dr. Oz & other sources)
  3. Snack: use 1 Tablespoon of pure coconut oil to pop 1/8 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  4. Minimize ingestion of metals (metals found in brains of Alzheimer’s patients per Dr. Oz). Minimizing aluminum is healthy for all of us, but it’s important to note that metals are also found in medications as well as leaching from several types of cookware.
  5. Minimize meat from four-footed animals; maximize meat from 2-footed animals (birds); and have seafood at least once per week to keep cholesterol low.
  6. Vitamin E can slow Alzheimer’s decline (WSJ Jan 2, 2014)

Plus one very important general anesthesia suggestion:

  1. Don’t undergo general anesthesia unless absolutely necessary. This is often the prelude to severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It seems that younger people come out of the “general anesthesia fog” rather well; older people do not do as well. Have seen this happen many times. I truly wish there were more serious research into this matter!

Any more suggestions?! What’s working for you?