NYU turns to big data to teach future physicians HIT skills

As big data and analytics create great change within the healthcare industry, they're also having a major influence on how and what future physicians are taught.

At New York University's medical school, students are learning how to access and interpret large healthcare data sets.

The students in their first and second years of medical school must participate in a project centered on "healthcare by the numbers," according to an NPR report.

For the project, which is partially funded by the American Medical Association, students are given access to a database with information on millions of anonymous hospital patients, as well as information for 50,000 outpatients. Student must use analytical tools provided to them to examine the performance of a practice through quality measures like heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and more, Marc Triola, associate dean for educational informatics at the medical school, says in the report.

In addition, one project, where students looked at C-section rates across the country and found that those rates varied widely, will be used as part of a larger research effort that will soon be published.

Online education also is becoming more popular in an industry that needs to get its employees up to speed with ever-changing technological innovation.

To construct a strong IT-focused workforce in a rapidly evolving industry, planning, building and time will be needed, Michelle Washko, of the Health and Human Services Department, said during a forum in July. "Imagine how may healthcare providers we could train using ... online education and other technologies to meet this workforce need," she said.

Schools also are increasing their offerings of degrees and certificates in the health IT field. For example, Southern Methodist University in Dallas last year partnered with the Health Information Trust Alliance to offer a one-week intensive healthcare information security and technology risk management graduate certificate program.

To learn more:
- here's the NPR report