Interview by Katrina Barbuto
When finishing his Physiotherapy Degree, Dr Mark Merolli said he never thought he would have a complete career transformation and immersion into health informatics and digital health: consumer health technology, clinical informatics, research informatics, data analytics, education.
Mark said while practicing as a physiotherapist he was drawn into understanding the impact of patients having greater access to health information/support networks online, and how this influences their approach to health management.
Mark explained that “CHIA offered somewhat of a complementarity to the rigor of a PhD training program I underwent in health informatics as well as my clinical background. I wanted to undertake the CHIA program to augment and broaden my horizons across a range of areas in health informatics, as well as open doors to a network with more colleagues and industry partners.”
“Doing the CHIA program was useful to break down those conceptual barriers, widen my knowledge base and boost my skillset when approaching different challenges in healthcare.
“Now, when I work with colleagues from different professional backgrounds, I can approach discussions and projects using a standard framework.
“I also have no doubt that CHIA has contributed to my recent career progressions and new job roles. It’s given me the confidence to work in a leadership and directorial role and know that I’m across the profession. It’s also given me a skillset and network that I can use to help pioneer and progress digital health and informatics in the physiotherapy profession,” said Mark.
Still practicing as a clinical physiotherapist part-time, Mark is now the Academic Director of Digital Health and Informatics in the School of Health Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. Mark said that “the role is diverse but primarily involves a high amount of industry facing engagement, strategic planning, curriculum and course planning in digital health and informatics, lecturing, and conducting research.”
Where do you see health informatics in 5/10 years? “It’s becoming clearer that the wider health workforce and job roles are gearing up to include growing reference to skillsets in digital health and informatics. Within the next 5-10 years, I’m envisioning that more and more jobs and job applications will increasingly list competency and/or formal qualifications in digital health and informatics as essentials and desirables. This bodes well for the professional to pursue official credentialing. I think consequently and knock-on effect from this, it will put increasing onus back onto professional accreditation bodies (particularly those in the clinical health professions) to consider informatics as a required competency for practice,” said Mark.
Dr Mark Merolli
Academic Director of Digital Health – Swinburne University
Dr Mark Merolli is a health informatician, having done a PhD at the University of Melbourne, and a Physiotherapist. He is the Academic Director of Digital Health at Swinburne University of Technology – a passionate educator of future health professionals in digital health and a clinical health professional.