As healthcare is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors worldwide, the needs and demand for digital health are growing exponentially. One of the drivers of Digital Health is the ongoing global pandemic, and it has acted as a catalyst speeding up and intensifying the policymaker to digitise healthcare at a breakneck pace to make healthcare accessible for all.
A career in digital health involves working in a discipline that includes digital care programmes, technologies with health and society to enhance the efficiency delivery of healthcare and make medicine more precise and personalised. This is a career which uses information and communication technologies to facilitate understanding of health problems and challenges faced by people receiving medical treatment. A professional working in the area of digital health works with patient records and data in a healthcare setting. They are often employed by healthcare providers such as clinics and hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, commercial insurance companies, medical device manufacturers and governmental or other policy-focused institutions. A digital health professional can also work in project management, analytical, consulting, or support capacities depending on an organisation’s needs.
The main contribution of digital health lies with three main areas of interest: patient-centric, diagnostics-centric and R&D centric. Examples include telemedicine, medicine distribution, chronic disease management, personalised medicine, clinical trials, tracking and tracing applications such as MySejahtera.
Those who are interested in this line of career will need to obtain a basic degree in Digital Health. With this in mind, the International Medical University (IMU) will be starting a new programme in 2022, the Bachelor in Digital Health (Honours) which is a programme that blends Computing, Data Analytics and Health Sciences. It will make graduates more knowledgeable about healthcare organisations, systems and regulations, needs and problems. The Digital Health programme at IMU is the first undergraduate programme in Malaysia and in Southeast Asia that focuses on digital health.
The programme aims to equip students with an in-depth understanding and know-how of the healthcare field, particularly digital health. The Digital Health curriculum at IMU provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the industry needs. The programme is embedded with research-led teaching and an up-to-date structure to meet the ever-changing needs of the IT and healthcare industries. In addition, students have the opportunity to work in a digital health-related company or hospital in their final semester for about 20-weeks as part of the industrial training.
It is a 3-year programme and opens for the first intake in July and September 2022. Those who joined in July will start the general studies (MPU) modules followed by the first semester of the Digital Health programme. The Digital Health programme is open to students from any discipline with the required pre-university qualifications together with a credit in Mathematics at the SPM level or equivalent. The programme is also open to diploma holders in any discipline, subject to a rigorous internal assessment process.
After the 3-year Digital Health undergraduate programme, the students can progress to the Master in Health Informatics and Analytics. It is a one-year full-time Master programme, which provides the perfect pathway for Digital Health undergraduates who intend to pursue health informatics and analytics. The students will be more focused on linking and analysing large complex datasets, using techniques that transform medical research and create exciting new commercial opportunities in the healthcare sector.