I just finished another term in my Clinical Informatics program at OHSU. This term I took two classes, Consumer Health Informatics, and Clinical Quality Improvement. I expected Clinical Quality Improvement to be harder, and in some ways it was, but when I look back on the two classes, I think that Consumer Health Informatics really is the harder discipline, at least for me.
I say that because Consumer Health Informatics is both softer, and broader than Clinical Quality Improvement. I can do math, and often do it in my sleep, and a lot of Quality Improvement is about understanding measurement and statistics, and evaluating graphs and charts. Other parts of it are also fairly objective, so it comes to me fairly easy.
It's the qualitative, subjective stuff where my brain sometimes goes to mush. Or perhaps not mush, so much as I feel like I'm trying to nail mush to the wall. While I did well on my final exam, it's also the lowest exam grade I've gotten yet. Part of it has to do with really focusing on a consumer's needs fully. And while I certainly have a consumer perspective, I don't get to work with other consumers that often (especially those not in the e-Patient crowd), so I only have my own (and my family's) experiences to rely on.
Next term I'll be looking at a completely different side of things. I've registered for two classes, Organizational Behavior and Management, and the Business of Healthcare Informatics. Neither of these is something that I can claim any special expertise in, although working to change organizations is something that I have been practicing for quite some time, and understanding the other end of the business (the sales rather than purchasing side) may give me some interesting insights.
I thought about taking the summer off, but that would just push my education down the road, and I really do enjoy the classes.