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The computing degree driving healthcare innovation

7 November 2018
Using technology to meet tomorrow’s healthcare needs
Equipping professionals with the technological skills needed to transform healthcare is at the heart of the Master of Health Technology Innovation, the first cross-disciplinary degree developed through the Charles Perkins Centre.

Healthcare solutions are becoming increasingly dependent on the innovative use of modern technologies.

Innovations such as machine learning algorithms are allowing practitioners to process massive amounts of imaging data in shorter periods of time, while 3D printing is becoming a more common tool in surgical procedures involving prosthetic and implanted devices.

That’s why the University of Sydney’s Master of Health Technology Innovation is ideal for doctors, scientists, information technology experts and engineers wanting to bridge the gap between the technical and clinical arenas and expand their career options in this field.

We caught up with current student Vanessa, and graduates Juan and Adrian, to find out why they have chosen to further their careers with a Master of Health Technology Innovation.

Current student Vanessa Fleet

Vanessa Fleet (Student)

What attracted you to the Master of Health Technology Innovation?

I always knew I wanted to stay within digital healthcare, but I was unsure where to take my career. Weighing-up my postgraduate study options, I liked that the Master of Health Technology Innovation wouldn’t pigeon-hole me into one specific area.

The ability to select from a wide variety of subjects including
object-orientated design and software development that would teach me about emerging trends was
also appealing.

How has your previous industry experience complemented what you are currently studying in the Master of Health Technology Innovation?

When I commenced my part-time studies, I was working in pharmaceutical marketing and education, before later transitioning into a government role at the Australian Digital Health Agency.

This industry experience has complemented my studies, while the degree itself has presented me with new ideas and opportunities for growth. I have gained a better understanding of the complex and fragmented Australian health system, and I’m now able to apply new creative and innovative thinking to practical tasks in my work.

How will the Master of Health Technology Innovation set you up for this job/industry choice?

There has been value from every subject I have taken so far and that’s because of the degree’s multidisciplinary nature. You get to learn and understand a wide range of subject areas from biomedical engineering technologies to integrated approaches and chronic disease while learning to understand the varying perspectives of different stakeholders.

The assignments are quite practical and have included grant applications, business plans, prototyping and usability testing – all of which are necessary things to know when starting a business. A group assignment may consist of having to collaborate with a qualified doctor, engineer or even computer scientist while a lecturer may also connect you with relevant consultants or health professionals. 

Graduate Juan Pablo Molina Ortiz

Juan Pablo Molina Ortiz (Graduate)

What attracted you to the Master of Health Technology Innovation?

I’ve always thought medicine and technology were areas that would someday come together to help society, and I wanted to be there when that happened.

The Master of Health Technology Innovation stood out for me as an innovative degree that would help me achieve my dreams. I’m confident
that enrolling was one of the best
decisions I’ve ever made.

How has your previous industry experience complemented what you are currently studying in the Master of Health Technology Innovation?

I worked as a General Practitioner and Medical Auditor in my home country of Ecuador prior to starting my Master of Health Technology Innovation. Since living in Australia, I have been working as a Health Consultant and as a Support Carer.

During my professional years, I have been a part of many multidisciplinary teams for various reasons and I have experienced firsthand how minor inconsistencies or misinterpretations when collaborating with people from different backgrounds can significantly hinder progress.

This degree has taught me to give interdisciplinary collaboration the place it deserves and to recognise it as a powerful tool with the potential to expand the borders of scientific research.

How will the Master of Health Technology Innovation set you up for this job/industry choice?

This degree offers a very wide range of units, from Software Development in Java to Applied Tissue Engineering and beyond. In my case, I learned how to code in several computer languages.

This new knowledge and my health-oriented background led me to an amazing opportunity at the Charles Perkins Centre, where I am now developing a computational model of a complex biological system. The experience gained while working on this project has opened some interesting paths.

I was recently awarded a research scholarship at the Charles Perkins Centre with the potential extending this to a PhD in Bioinformatics. Both of these opportunities will help me cement my path as an interdisciplinary researcher. 

Graduate Adrian Peacock

Adrian Peacock (Graduate)

What attracted you to the Master of Health Technology Innovation?

With a growing reliance on technology in the health industry and the need for innovative healthcare solutions, I wanted to position myself for the increasing number of job prospects that would arise.

I’ve always wanted to be able to use my knowledge of computer science and systems and somehow combine it with my passion for healthcare to improve population health and this degree offered it all.

How has your previous industry experience complemented what you are currently studying in the Master of Health Technology Innovation?

Coming from an allied health background, I had knowledge of health and disease, and the important role of healthcare. I was able to build on my knowledge and incorporate aspects of computing, public health, research and development, and health technology assessment.

While some of my prior knowledge was relevant, the dynamic nature of health research and health technologies meant that many of the concepts were new to me.

How will the Master of Health Technology Innovation set you up for this job/industry choice?

The Master of Health Technology Innovation has given me greater understanding of the processes involved in bringing a drug or medical device to market.

I’ve also been able to directly apply skills I learnt to complete reimbursement submissions and rapid reviews for different emerging health technologies.

It’s enabled me to conduct research and collaborate with professionals in a range of different therapeutic areas as it emphasised the importance of multidisciplinary communication and collaboration.

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