Whether on the Road or in the Air, HIT is Everywhere…

First and foremost, I need to apologize for my disappearing act, as it’s been well over two months since my last post!  This is perhaps the busiest I’ve ever been in my life.  I often joke with my fiancée that rarely has there been a time in either of our lives where our entire year has been planned out in advance.  It seems as though our personal calendars are just as filled, if not more so, than our work calendars these days.  Nonetheless, I don’t want to give any excuses, so please accept my apology as I get on to the good stuff.

Spring semester 2011 got off to a busy start.  Until March 4, I was enrolled in Professor Swirsky’s Ethics and Legal Issues in Health Informatics course, which was intellectually stimulating and challenging to say the least.  I spent many weekends at my local coffee shop, to the point where the staff addressed me on a first name basis, recommending that I sign up for their loyal customer program.  Man, their food and coffee is good!  Reading for hours on end, I fully immersed myself in the material.  As challenging as the course was, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The assigned readings and discussions really made me think.  In fact, I was thinking about ethics so much that it was very hard for me to turn off my “filter.”  I would come home and catch up on shows recorded on my DVR, and often relate several episodes of my favorite shows to the material I had just learned.  This pleasantly caught me by surprise.

While taking Professor Swirsky’s course, I was also simultaneously enrolled in Professor Dieter’s Informational Sources in Biomedical & Health Information Sciences course.  At first, juggling the two courses and their subsequent deadlines for each unit was challenging, but after the first week, I developed a routine that worked for me.  Like Professor Swirsky’s course, Professor Dieter’s course was also excellent.  Among other lessons, I learned that not all reference sources are created equal, particularly when conducting research for medical purposes.  This is a particularly important issue for my generation, and those generations after me, as we arguably tend to “Google” everything.  The course delivery and design was stellar, taking me through online exercises and demonstrations highlighting the differences between search engines, library resources, periodicals, journals, and the like.  The course also taught me how to better utilize UIC’s library resources, which I have certainly grown to appreciate.

I am now enrolled in Professor Pawola’s Health Care IT Vendor Management course, which is very interesting.  For now, I will hold off writing about this course, since I’m only a few weeks in.  Nonetheless, this is a very unique course in which my imagination runs wild with research.  So far, this course has demonstrated that the HIT sales industry has been and continues to be, a huge growth area.  It truly amazes me just how much history there is in the HIT market, and how I have yet to scratch the surface on what else is out there.  It really makes me appreciate what UIC is doing with their MSHI program.

So by now, you’re probably wondering what’s up with the title of my latest post.  Well, I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and I happened to notice just how much HIT is out there.  The other week, I was on the road in Scottsdale for work, and saw Carefx‘s headquarters building.  For those of you not familiar with Carefx, it is a leading HIT company that is often mentioned in several health IT blogs.  Also, just this past weekend, I struck up a conversation with a younger gentleman at Atlanta’s airport for our outbound flight to Kansas City, noting his Cerner luggage tag.  There are countless billboards and news articles floating around airports and roads, demonstrating just how much of a growth area HIT is.  Simply put, I wanted the reader to know that it’s quite a humbling experience to be a part of something so big and transformational.

By now, hopefully you understand why this is such a good time to be in HIT, and why programs like UIC’s Online MSHI program help connect the dots between work experience and academic background.  I am now one year into the program, with an anticipated graduation semester of summer 2012.   My life is anything but typical right now.  Between traveling for work, family commitments, conventions, user groups, bachelor parties, weddings, etc., I simply could not pursue a master’s degree without being able to take courses online.  If you’re in the market to further your education in HIT, but want flexibility, be sure to consider online as an option, and in particular, be sure to add UIC’s MSHI program to your list.  You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time…

About the author


Ryan Esslinger

Ryan Esslinger is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Online Health Informatics Program. Ryan currently works full time as an Informatics Analyst at Wellstar Health System.

1 Comment

  • Your posts are always informative, Ryan. I feel like I am experiencing Spring Semester 2011 with you!

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