Recently I spoke at a workshop organized by The International Society for Telemedicine & e-health.
While listening intently to other speakers share their presentations on the current state of Telenursing/Telehealth in their various countries, I couldn’t help but think about my own country and how far we have gone in the area of Digital Healthcare Technologies.
If you ask me how far we have gone, I must confess that we are making a lot of efforts, considering the environment and a lot of other factors that are beyond our control, like government policies, resources, electricity supply, etc.
In that workshop, a senior colleague of mine who is also a mentor and part of our Research & Development team at Care City and is a Ph.D. nursing student in Hong Kong spoke on the present state of telenursing in Nigeria, what has been done so far, challenges, and prospects.
It was a brief presentation and we had little time to answer some questions asked by the audience.
That workshop revealed a lot of things about what is being done in the exciting field of Telemedicine/Telehealth in developed climes.
We have a long way to go here in Nigeria when it comes to building a Digital Health ecosystem.
There’s still a lot to do…
In the area of Telemedicine, a lot of the startups emerging from Nigeria are heavily focused on providing Telemedicine services. Startups like Mobihealth, and Tremendoc, to mention a few.
We are yet to see well-structured Telenursing platforms.
Though nurses have been providing nursing services to a degree over mobile phones and through video conferencing platforms like Zoom, we still need to develop well-structured platforms that will organize these services, making it easier for clients looking for such services to easily gain access to them.
I think that one reason why nurses have not explored this aspect of healthcare is that many of them are not adequately exposed to digital technologies.
And this is what we do at Carecode Digital Health Hub — exposing healthcare professionals to “Digital Technology” so that they can harness its potential to accelerate development in the African healthcare ecosystem.
Find out more here.
And I have been asked a number of questions regarding migrating into the field of tech. Nurses have asked me these questions, and Doctors too.
We will together look at these questions. I know that you also have similar questions in your heart.
What Aspect of Tech Can I Focus On?
Whenever I am asked this particular, I have observed that it always comes from someone who is relatively new to the world of tech. And I answer it using this simple principle.
I ask them what their interests are. From knowing your interests, you will be able to gradually decipher what aspect of digital health befits you.
I go ahead to know what kind of mind they possess.
To make it easy for people who ask me questions, I usually divide the world of tech into the following:
Visual: For the visual mind, it’s excited by visually appealing stimuli. Like graphics, designs, etc. If you have this kind of mind, it will be better if you focused on a part of tech that deals more with visuals. For example, UI/UX Design, Graphic Design, Video Editing, etc.
Numbers: If you have a mind that enjoys crunching numbers. You feel good when you have to handle numbers and calculations, then you may have a brain that will do well in the numeral aspects of digital technologies. Let’s say data analytics, statistics, writing coding, etc.
Words: For those who love words [like me], this aspect of digital technologies may be for you. If you look at it from another perspective, it looks like something else, other than a digital tech skill [it looks more of the arts, right?] But when you look close, you will see that writing is a very important digital tech skill.
The digital world [and every other world/industry] will always need writers.
They will be needed to write tech reviews and copies for brands, product descriptions, etc.
So, you see, it’s a digital tech skill and an important one.
You will need people to communicate your ideas, people who will interact with the public and tell them about your digital tech services or products. That’s where the writer comes into the picture.
And they are specialized writers who are expected to have in-depth knowledge about a particular aspect of tech so that they will be able to communicate with customers, consumers, and the community.
Like in the world of software and programming, you may be required to understand some deep concepts before you will be able to communicate them with people.
Structures: If you love to build stuff. To handle and mold.
Then you may want to go the device and structure path where you will be handling hardware and tangible material.
This is a highly technical aspect because you may need to swallow a good dose of engineering and some structural science.
If you love robotics, creating medical devices, etc, this is your turf.
Don’t mind me, this is my school of thought.
What about aspects like Product Design? Well, product design cuts across more than two domains. You will deal with a visual facet, the numerical aspect, and the word aspect — a complex combination.
In Product Design, you will work with a number of software and tools, like Journey mapping apps, Wireframing apps, Graphic Design Apps, Prototyping apps, Research and Data analytics tools, CAD [computer-aided design], and lots more.
You see, that’s a whole lot.
The next question:
Are There Any Opportunities?
Well, I think you should be able to answer this question yourself. It’s an easy one.
In today’s world, skills stand you out. It’s what you can do with your hands, brains, or legs that will differentiate you.
College or Universities just prepare our minds.
What matters is what we are able to do with the exposure a University Degree or Diploma has provided for us.
Healthcare professionals who are able to go through the discipline, dedicate themselves and develop one or two digital tech skills will always have an edge in today’s digital world.
I must also say, that it takes time to develop any kind of skill.
Some people just want to know everything at a go…!
No! it doesn’t work that way at all.
You need to learn, be consistent, and love what you do. And keep DOING IT!
If you have decided to be a Tech Writer, keep writing. Write every day!
If you have decided to go the design path, make sure you design every day!
Keep exposing your mind to that skill you want to master. And even after you have mastered it, you must know that there is still space to keep growing.
When Will I Be Able To Leave Healthcare For Healthtech?
This is one of the biggest reasons why Nurses, Doctors, and other professionals want to learn a digital tech skill.
Many of them are already tired of clinical medicine/nursing or clinical care.
They either want some more adventure or are already feeling drained.
Like I said earlier if you can be disciplined enough you will be able to master a skill that will make it possible for you to leave clinical care.
I know you have heard a lot about the world of tech. What they don’t tell you is that you must work hard and smart.
It’s not magic.
When starting out it may all look strange and abstract, but as you keep at it, your mind begins to adjust to the new path and if you keep at it, in no time your mind will get used to the new learning environment.
Do I Need To Pay Any Fee To Migrate Into The World of Tech?
Yes and No. Yes because they are some courses and communities that require you to pay a sum of money before you are given access.
No in the sense that there are a lot of programs that are teaching people digital tech skills free of charge.
Companies like Google. Google has developed a platform for Africans to go and learn digital skills.
I always tell people to take hold of this opportunity.
When I started learning about the world of Tech, Google Garage was my favorite online hub for learning stuff. And up to this day, I still go there to learn stuff.
You should also know, that some free courses/programs tend to be very shallow, lacking luster and solidness. And most free stuff doesn’t have a community around them.
In our Bootcamp, we have placed a very tiny fee. It’s not even a tuition fee, it’s more like an acceptance fee. If we charged for the real value of what we are offering, a lot of you will not join us, only the few who understand the kind of value we are offering will be the ones to sacrifice.
But we made it easy because we want to see more healthcare professionals coming into the world of digital technologies.
And the last question…
How Can I Use These Skills In Advancing Healthcare?
The world has gone DIGITAL.
All industries under the sun have experienced one form of digital transformation and the healthcare industry is not left behind.
Though we may be lagging behind because of the conservative nature of healthcare, however, the pandemic has quickly accelerated digital innovations in the healthcare ecosystem.
There has been a massive surge in the uptake of digital technologies in healthcare by both patients and clients and healthcare institutions.
This surge has placed a high demand on the innovative capacity/capability of healthcare professionals and stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.
This is where you come into the scene.
You are a healthcare professional who understands the usefulness of digital technology, that’s why you are reading this long post right now.
All forms of Digital Technologies can be used in one way or the other in healthcare. It just depends on how creative one gets.
There we go.
Are you desperate about leaving clinical practice? Or do you want more adventure? Or do you just want to learn something new?
Our Digital Health Bootcamp is just a few days away. If you will like to hop on board, fill out this form. By filling out that form, you should be directed to a closed Whatsapp page. On that page you will be provided with directions on how to pay and once you pay we will add you to a separate page.
If you know of anyone who might need this opportunity, kindly share this with them.