Healthcare informatics
Healthcare informatics iStock

The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) on Monday announced that Israel’s Council for Higher Education has approved the Samson Health Informatics Master’s Program, which will enable the College to embark on crucial research and teaching activities in a cutting-edge field that will improve the quality of patient care by utilizing data and technology as the basis for making better clinical decisions.

With the support of the Samson Charity Foundation, Israel’s first academic program in health informatics will offer a master’s degree (MHI). This comes five years after JCT initially received guidance and support from the University of Toronto to launch a certificate program in this field. JCT is also collaborating with Jerusalem-based Herzog Hospital and other universities around the world on the program’s academic and research components.

Dr. Judith Shamian, former president of the International Council of Nurses and a JCT board member, first proposed the health informatics program as a way to help Israeli ingenuity meet a growing need in the healthcare system. This led to the creation of this innovative, interdisciplinary master’s program.

“Although Israel is a world leader in health technology and health informatics, there was not previously an academic program that brought health and technology together to prepare individuals who can work in collaboration with experts in both of those areas to benefit the health care system and all of Israel,” Shamian said.

“Thanks to the inspiration provided by the University of Toronto, the dedicated support of the Canadian Friends of JCT, and the generosity of the Samson Charity Foundation, we are able to create Israel’s first high-level health informatics program and cultivate a new generation of professionals who will enhance the Jewish state’s healthcare system.”

As health care technology and innovation emphasize improving and advancing quality, safety, and service, it is incumbent upon health workers as well as entrepreneurs to get acquainted with new and innovative theoretical and practical tools — beyond what has been studied at the undergraduate level. Accordingly, Western countries such as the US and Canada have developed health informatics graduate programs which rest on the understanding that professionals operating in this space require interdisciplinary academic training.

“In recent years, we have witnessed the entry of technology giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, IBM, and others into the field of health. There is no doubt that the health industry has a pressing need for the graduates of our program, whose skill set is well-adapted to the current and future world of health technology,” said Dr. Sigal Shafran Tikva, who developed the curriculum and built the program and now is Head of the Samson Health Informatics Master’s Program.

JCT’s curriculum is designed for health care workers (including physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and emergency medical professionals), as well as for experts in economics, law, management, and engineering. It will reach out to a diverse professional clientele who are looking to expand their academic background and skills in the world of healthcare technology. The program will instill knowledge, tools, skills, and the language that enables hybrid communication between disciplines. It will allow graduates to define and characterize health-related aspects of different technologies so as to provide optimized treatment, while maximizing the benefits of new technologies in the workplace.

"The Samson Charity Foundation is proud to support such a critical initiative. Combining the innovation found in the Start-up Nation, the excellent students at Jerusalem College of Technology, and the robust curriculum created by JCT and the University of Toronto should be a winning formula that will enhance the medical industry in Israel and beyond.” said Mr. Pieter Biermann, President of the foundation.