University College is pleased to welcome Rachel Rogers (RN,
MS), the new assistant academic director for Healthcare Management and
assistant teaching professor. Rachel comes to University College from Denver
Health, where she worked as an RN informatics specialist. We asked Rachel about
her background, the field, the Healthcare Management program, and advice she
has for students.
Can you tell me a
little bit about your background in the healthcare field?
I have been in healthcare for my whole career. I started out as a
speech-language pathologist and then moved into nursing. As a speech-language
pathologist, I was able to work with my patients in a very discrete and
specialized way. I admired the nurses that we’re able to care for the whole
person. Once I became a nurse, I was able to see healthcare in a new way. My
favorite bedside nursing was during my time in the Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit. It was stressful, but very rewarding!
How did you
transition from being a nurse manager to an RN informatics specialist?
During my time as a nurse manager, our facility transitioned to an electronic
health record. I was able to provide input into the clinical content as the
record was built and customized to meet the needs of our hospital. I found it
fascinating. I also found that I enjoyed helping others become more confident
and competent using new technology in the clinical areas. When the opportunity
arose to move to the Nursing Informatics team, I jumped!
How were you able to
use your background in nursing to transition to the informatics field?
I found that the problem-solving skills I gained as a nurse were very similar
to the way the Information Technology (IT) folks solved problems. I considered
my job as a clinical informaticist to help the people who were helping the
people. While I wasn’t delivering direct care to patients, I was able to use my
experience as a nurse to help the IT team understand some of the challenges
faced by clinicians. If we were able to bring new technology to the bedside
that made patient care easier, better or more efficient, that’s what we considered
What perspective can
you bring to students from your time working in the field?
Listen to your end-users! It sounds simple, but often us techie folks want to
implement something we think is the best solution because it is new and cool
and fun. If no one consults the end-users about their ideas, their fears, or
how the technology will mesh with their workflow, it’s a recipe for disaster!
What advice do you
have for students looking to pursue a role in informatics?
Do it! The informatics field is growing with alarming speed, and the healthcare
industry is far behind other industries in our collection, sharing, and use of
all the data available. I think we are on the precipice of something wonderful!
What’s next for the
field of informatics?
If I had to choose one thing for healthcare informatics, I think I would have
to pick Precision Medicine. Precision Medicine is the ability to tailor the
healthcare of a patient around all of the individualized information available–genetics,
lifestyle, behavioral/mental health, geographical location, and things that we
lump into “social determinants of health.” The more information we
collect, the easier it is for experts in informatics to use tools like
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create individualized care
What goals do you
have for the Healthcare Management program? Will there be opportunities for
partnerships and collaborations in the future?
I want to continue offering high-quality, relevant, engaging courses to our
students that will prepare them for a wildly successful career in healthcare
management. As for collaborations, my specialty area as an informaticist was in
ambulatory care. While we want to continue to grow our relationships with
hospitals, I think there is a great opportunity to move into the ambulatory
care space. Healthcare innovators are working diligently to keep people out of
hospitals. It is expensive and less efficient than providing patients with
better care before they need to go to the hospital or emergency department.
Think about it. Your family doctor probably knows way more about all of the
interconnecting pieces that impact your health than the doctor in the ER stitching
up your finger after a cooking disaster! I think some opportunities for our
students to get into the community to see where healthcare and life intersect
would be amazing!