Bridging the divide between health care and technology

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Aditi Ekbote

Aditi Ekbote, senior in the Health Informatics and Health Information Management (HIHIM) program, is dedicated to making health care “equitable, efficient, and of the highest quality.” She has interned and worked at numerous health care organizations, including UW Medicine, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, and Mobilize Physical Therapy. 

“I realized that having a patient-facing role wasn’t really for me,” she explained. “So I saw this major, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is really interesting,’ because it has a lot to do with data analytics, but there’s still that component of having human compassion towards people in the health care industry, and improving the health care industry.”

Why HIHIM was the right program

She describes the two-year program as highly-flexible and designed for students with jobs or family obligations. Ekbote also appreciates that most faculty also work in the industry, bringing their expertise and knowledge of changing trends to the classroom. “They bring so much focus, they know what they’re talking about, because they’re working with it on a daily basis,” she said.

For her senior capstone project, Ekbote is partnering with a health insurance company to design a hypothetical HIPAA-compliant privacy plan. At the end of the quarter, she will deliver a presentation intended for the CEO and CFO of a health care organization, plus a business proposal that includes a budget for each security measure. 

“A lot of times, the people who are trying to solve the issue of data breaches within health care are coming at it with a very technical approach, when the reality is that [often] breaches happen when employees are not aware of proper procedures,” she explained.

“It’s not always that there’s a big hacker somewhere, it could be as simple as sending an email to somebody who I’m not supposed to. It’s very important to have training that will stick with [employees] for a long time, rather than just saying, ‘Oh, just don’t release electronic health information when it’s not required.’ Well, what does that mean? It starts with employees being aware of what they should be doing.”

Awards of Excellence

Ekbote was recently honored with the School of Public Health’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award 2024. After graduation, she plans to work in healthcare IT.

We live in a world in which data breaches seem to become more common every day, harming patient privacy. To fix this issue, health care needs professionals who can bridge the divide between medicine and tech, bringing the best of both worlds. She encourages other tech- and health-minded students to join the HIHIM program. “To anyone who wants to join the major, it’s a very close-knit, accepting and warm community that I would highly encourage you to be a part of,” Ekbote said.

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