(BPT) – Medical professionals are in greater demand than ever before, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), by the year 2025, the United States could need as many as 90,000 more physicians than it actually has, and the demand for nurses and other health professionals could be even higher.
Given those numbers, the time couldn’t be better to consider a career in health care.
Historically, the path toward becoming a doctor or nurse has been a rigid one – and, as a student, you were either on that path or you weren’t. But today, new options are opening up, as even the best-established medical schools seek to expand their offerings and encourage a greater number of medically inclined students to enter the field professionally.
New options for health care-inclined students of all ages
Just take what Harvard Medical School is doing. This spring, the school – whose typical acceptance rate is under 4 percent – announced its first-ever online certificate program that’s open to all aspiring clinicians as well as the general public.
The program, called HMX Fundamentals, is designed to give students a taste of what a top-tier medical education entails, while building crucial expertise in four foundational subject areas: Immunology, Physiology, Biochemistry and Genetics. These highly immersive courses emphasize real-world applications and experiences, integrating real-life case studies and offering a first-hand look into real medical facilities – a significant step beyond the traditional, passive learning and slide-show presentations that are common in some other online programs. The idea is to provide foundational knowledge in a meaningful context, making the information as relevant as possible.
By offering wider access than ever before to some of the school’s top physician-scientists, Harvard Medical School is hoping to change the game, and encourage more health-curious students and professionals to explore medicine seriously.
Whether you’re a highly motivated high school student, a recent college graduate or a young professional considering a transition into health care, this summer’s HMX Fundamentals program could be the first step in your path toward a career in medicine.
Expanding access without sacrificing quality
While HMX Fundamentals courses are open to students at virtually any phase of their academic or professional career, they do require a basic understanding of chemistry, biology and physics. To ensure that students are prepared to succeed, prospective students are asked to submit a brief application, both to confirm they’ve completed the recommended prerequisites and to give HMX a sense of what they hope to achieve through the program.
Applications for the program will be accepted through May 30, and the inaugural summer installment program will begin June 20. Tuition for HMX Fundamentals courses is tiered, beginning at $ 800 for a single course or $ 1000 for a two-course bundle. Partial scholarships are available on a limited basis.
* In this highly rated session from Strata Rx 2012 four prominent disruptors in the health data field – DJ Patil, John Mattison, Tim O’Reilly, and Benjamin West – discuss how they think big data will impact the future of healthcare. Topics discussed include:
What do we want healthcare to look like in 2020?
What are the current barriers to innovation and how should we address them?
How will big data allow us get the best patient outcomes?
Will robots and algorithms eventually replace the physician?
What are some of the big things we should be thinking about to make evidence-based care a reality?
Why will data democratization and open standards create an “entrepreneurial firestorm”?
What kind of visualization tools are needed to help patients better manage their own health?
By 2020, what do you want a system or device to be able to tell you about yourself?
Should we be concerned about the loss of privacy that comes along with an increased use of open data?
DJ Patill is the “Data Scientist in Residence” at Greylock Partners.
Previously he was the Chief Product Officer for Color and the Chief Scientist at the LinkedIn Corporation, leading the Analytics and Data Teams. Some of the products shipped include, People You May Know, Who’s Viewed My Profile, Talent Match, Skills, and Career Explorer.
John Mattison is the Chief Medical Information Officer and Assistant Medical Director at Kaiser-Permanente, Southern California. He began his medical career at UC San Diego and Scripps Clinic, where he practiced in diverse clinical settings including emergency services, primary care, critical care, preventive medicine, hyperbaric medicine, trauma and helicopter medicine.
Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. His original business plan was “interesting work for interesting people,” and that’s worked out pretty well. He publishes books, runs conferences, invests in early-stage startups, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.
Benjamin West is author of insulaudit, an open source project to read historical logs from medical devices like glucose meters and insulin pumps. During the course of this research, he discovered that clever auditing techniques could allow avoiding situations leading to adverse events that are common throughout therapy. Ever since, his hacking has been bent toward increasing “fidelity of care.
Best of Strata Rx 2012: Disruptors: What Healthcare Will Look Like In 2020