MS in Healthcare Policy and Research Provides Valuable Experience in a Shifting Healthcare Industry

Healthcare systems around the world have innovatively adjusted to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, healthcare curriculum has grown to ensure students are well-equipped to enter the workforce under this “new norm.” On top of that, MS in Healthcare Policy and Research students at Weill Cornell Medicine are completing capstone projects that bring them closer to what’s happening in the field before graduation. 

Fariha Ahsan

Fariha Ahsan

Fariha Ahsan (’21) is a student in the health informatics track of the MS program. As the culminating program course, health informatics students complete a one-year long capstone project designed to help discover and develop new and effective ways of working with stakeholders within the healthcare field. This accelerates students’ development of context awareness, integrative management and industry skills that are needed to be successful in a rapidly changing healthcare sector. 

Because Ahsan balances the MS program with her role as a manager on the digital health team at NewYork-Presbyterian, she watched firsthand as telehealth quickly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is what drove her to understand overall acceptability of telehealth video visits among patients pre- and post-COVID for her capstone project. “It was really rewarding to understand patient perception and acceptability of the technology. Using this data, I was able to make real-time decisions in our projects as we expanded virtual care and telehealth programs for our patients.” 

She also recognizes how Weill Cornell Medicine’s coursework has aided her in both her academic and professional careers. “I used four different systems for data merging, data manipulation and then statistical analysis — all systems and skillsets I learned during my courses. This relates directly to the patient-focused approach our team likes to drive with our telehealth efforts across the enterprise. We understand the strength that data-driven decision making can have, but oftentimes due to the challenges of multiple IT systems and data sets, we’re unable to analyze the data quickly. This project helped me and my team to better understand patient perception with telehealth during a pandemic.”

The applicability of coursework will allow Ahsan to succeed professionally after completing the program, too. “It will continue to help me look at technology and driving technology to be focused on both patients and providers, and what tools and methods can be used to improve the experience for both.”

The MS in Healthcare Policy and Research program at Weill Cornell Medicine offers tracks in biostatistics and data science, health informatics and health policy and economics. The program offers students a wide variety of hands-on training in key skills and knowledge and access to world-renowned hospitals and medical facilities to learn and network with industry leaders.

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