Dr. Dilhari DeAlmeida

Dr. Dilhari DeAlmeida

Dr. Dilhari DeAlmeida is currently serving as an associate professor for the Department of Health Information Management (HIM) at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her BS in Molecular Biology, pursuing a career in that field for nearly a decade before changing direction.

In 2006, DeAlmeida entered the University of Pittsburgh's Master of Science in Health Information Systems program. Upon completion of the program, she immediately began her pursuit of a Doctorate in Health Information Management. She has been serving the Department of Health Information Management ever since.

Unique Faculty, Unique Program

Pitt’s Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) is a unique program that is delivered 100% online. DeAlmeida believes that the online format isn’t the only thing that sets this program apart. “Courses were created by our own faculty from the ground up,” she says. Many programs of this type would build their curriculum piecemeal from other programs and departments. Pitt’s MSHI built its curriculum from scratch specifically for those pursuing a career in health informatics.

DeAlmeida also believes the small class sizes add to the uniqueness of this program. Despite being an online format, the students and faculty interact regularly. The MSHI holds “live synchronous sessions so all the students can be together with the instructor virtually at the same time.” The small class sizes allow for each cohort to network and build strong relationships with their professors and advisors as well as each other.

It is not just the curriculum that makes this program unique, though. The faculty that designed the coursework only adds to the prestige. They have differing backgrounds and boast real-world experience; the pedagogies they bring make this program stand out.

DeAlmeida herself is quite unique. She began her career in molecular biology and has worked in vaccine research, serving on research teams at several hospitals. She’s also a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Her dissertation involved Evaluation of the ICD-10-CM System: Documentation Specificity, Reimbursement, and Methods for Improvement. Her interest in the global classification systems and terminologies coding system is evident, as is her interest in Electronic Health Records and Clinical Decision Support Systems.

Her background is not one you would expect to find in a program of this kind. But, she has used her previous experience in combining health care and technology to enhance the curriculum and give her students a different perspective.

The MSHI program boasts a strong curriculum designed to provide students with everything needed to pursue and advance a career in health informatics. Its extraordinary faculty sets it apart even further.

High Hopes for Students

DeAlmeida wants her students to “have the opportunity to learn how an entire health care organization would work.” This view is something the MSHI curriculum can provide. Each class focuses on a different aspect of the industry and often provides you with in-depth knowledge that can help you follow the career path of your choosing.

The MSHI program will allow you to excel in the field of health informatics. Whether you are brand new to health care or experienced in the field, adding this degree to your resume will have a lasting impact. DeAlmeida loves watching her students succeed in the program and beyond. “One of my favorite parts of being a professor is to celebrate my students' successes and achievements in the program.”

She follows many of her students long after they have completed their degree. “It is wonderful to see where our alumni are working and recognize all the connections we have with them,” she says.

Opening up Opportunities

Many believe that an online program doesn’t provide the same experience and opportunities as on-campus programs. Pitt’s MSHI students would disagree. DeAlmeida is particularly proud of the resources provided to students to make sure they start off on the right foot after graduation.

Among the invaluable resources are “undergraduate and graduate student associations where students can get connected and network with their peers” and “multiple recruitment opportunities with well renowned health IT companies.”

Adding Pitt’s MSHI to your resume will allow you to advance your career in an ever-expanding industry. “There are so many career paths students could take depending on what areas in informatics interest them. The spectrum goes from directly working with clinicians or IT folks to being the bridge between the two. There are numerous career opportunities that await you.”

The Impact of COVID-19

The current pandemic has had a significant impact on every industry. DeAlmeida believes it “is probably the single largest current event’” and it “has shaped our lives forever.”

The social distancing and isolation forced on us due to the severity of this illness has changed how we do things in so many ways. Few industries have been impacted quite like the health care industry, though. eHealth and telehealth are the standard now. With a growing need for virtual visits and a growing demand for convenience and immediacy, it is likely this will remain the standard long after the threat of COVID-19 has passed.

DeAlmeida says that “with this increased growth of health care technology, it is crucial to make sure that the data within the electronic health record, the clinical documentation and the reimbursement for these tele-visits are done accurately. These are areas that we teach our students in the program.”

With the industry skewing towards eHealth methods and the continuously growing demand for accessible information, the need for health care IT and other aspects of health informatics will continue to expand. If the industry is growing, so is the need for well trained and properly educated job candidates.

The Growing Field of Health Informatics

The world is changing. We grow more and more reliant on technology every day. In today’s world, the need for health care IT and other health informatics is undeniable. This industry is ever-growing and ever-changing. The University of Pittsburgh’s MSHI program was designed to help students begin and advance a career in health informatics. The curriculum was built to ensure that students gain the knowledge and skills they need now as well as the skills to evolve with the industry.

You can learn from the best no matter where you are. Learn more about Pitt’s Online MSHI program and learn the skills necessary to begin or advance your career in health informatics.

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