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From Medical Doctor to Health Informatician: My Journey with IMU to Transform Malaysian Healthcare

20 Nov 2023

Background – Why Health Informatics?

I am Dr Muhammad Naufal bin Nordin and here is my journey in Master in Health Informatics and Analytics at IMU. A little background of myself – during my bachelor’s degree days, I was the go-to tech aficionado among my peers. Whether it was cobbling together a web portal, tinkering with a malfunctioning PC, or setting up a Wi-Fi network, I was on hand to solve the problem. Despite my flair for technology, it played second fiddle to my main ambition of practicing medicine.


After graduating in 2014 and becoming a medical doctor for several years in government facilities, I was appointed at the Health Informatics Centre of the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia in 2017, which marked a pivotal turn in my career. My involvement with the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW) project illuminated the critical role of health informatics and the transformative power of analytics and artificial intelligence in the advancement of Malaysian healthcare towards technological and digital efficacy.

Student Experience at IMU

I was compelled to further my expertise and pursued a Master in Health Informatics and Analytics at IMU, attracted by the efficient modules offered particularly their emphasis on harnessing the latest technological advancements and knowledge. The course content was thoughtfully designed with a health-centric approach, integrating a spectrum from fundamental to more advanced tech concepts. This facilitates a smoother transition for healthcare professionals, bridging the gap in tech-savviness. Among the most significant skills acquired during my studies was programming — a field in which I began as a novice.

By the course’s conclusion, I had not only grasped the fundamentals but had also succeeded in creating a machine learning-powered bot for my research project using my own programming knowledge, a feat that stands out as a remarkable achievement in my academic and professional journey. Moreover, the faculty and administrative team were remarkably accessible, fostering an environment of support and collaboration that greatly enhanced the learning experience.

What Am I Doing Now?

I have since returned to the Health Informatics Centre at the MOH Malaysia, equipped with a wider and more precise set of goals to advance the integration of health informatics within the Malaysian healthcare system. My research project garnered recognition from the senior management due to its significant potential to impact the national healthcare landscape.

Currently, I am in the process of translating the proof of concept from my research project into practical applications, aiming to refine operational workflows within MOH facilities. This initiative is intended to alleviate the workload and reduce the strain on healthcare workers.


The insights and skills acquired from my studies also have further enriched my contribution to the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse, particularly in the realms of analytics and artificial intelligence, which are central to my role.

My Future Plan

Looking ahead, my immediate objective is to spearhead the implementation of AI in healthcare, leveraging the developments I have pioneered in my proof-of-concept projects.


In the long run, I am dedicated to disseminating the expertise I have amassed to my peers and the wider staff of the MOH, with the aspirational goal of perhaps establishing a dedicated AI department within the Ministry. Additionally, I am looking forward to forge partnerships with non-governmental entities including academic institutions like my alma mater IMU, to facilitate research initiatives on health informatics projects that promise to significantly enhance the quality of healthcare in Malaysia.

Advice to Future Students

For those embarking on the journey of health informatics and analytics, embrace the opportunity with an open and inquisitive mind. The field is ever-evolving, intersecting with various facets of healthcare and technology, and it demands a willingness to continuously learn and adapt. Seize every chance to engage with your projects and research, for they are the practical extensions of your academic work that will resonate in the real world.


Remember, the skills and knowledge you cultivate now will be instrumental in shaping the future of healthcare. Your passion, coupled with the expertise gained from institutions like IMU, will not only advance your career but also contribute to the greater good of our healthcare system.

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