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We caught up with Dr Amandeep Hansra, founder of Creative Careers in Medicine (CCIM), digital health professional, with 18 years of clinical experience, to talk about why she moved into digital health and how she is helping other medical professionals build a career in digital health.

Dr Amandeep Hansra FAIDH CHIA

Dr Amandeep Hansra FAIDH CHIA

Founder, Creative Careers in Medicine

1. How did you get interested in IT/health informatics/digital health?

My first involvement with digital health was working as an afterhours telehealth GP. This was a great opportunity to recognise the value that digital health brings to healthcare. This experience got me keenly interested in the power of technology and the impact it could have on health access, equity, and delivery. After this telehealth role, I moved into Telstra Health, where my interest in digital health and health informatics grew.

It was here that I realised digital health is a real career option.

I loved the tribe of people that work in this space. They are passionate, driven, and motivated. They work for the love of it and are making significant changes to healthcare, even on a global level. The community is what keeps me in this industry.

2. At what point did you decide to establish CCIM?

After I left Telstra Health, I realised that I had trodden a unique path as a doctor, in that I had found interests outside of a traditional career pathway. There is an expectation that you once you study medicine, you go on to become a physician, surgeon, or GP (or pursue other traditional specialities); and that you are fulltime patient-facing. As a doctor, you usually belong to a particular medical college, which is your “tribe.” The college provides a home for training, CPD, and connection with peers. While at Telstra Health, I was finding these groups of doctors with a passion for digital health scattered across startups, big tech, and CMIOs in public and private hospitals, this tribe did not have a singular home.

CCIM was an opportunity to create a community for doctors working in creative careers, such as digital health. There are now more than 18,000 doctors in our community who can share their experiences, learnings, and opportunities with other medical professionals.

3. What motivated you to get involved with the CHIA Program?

I had originally stumbled across AIDH and CHIA. Here I was, telling everybody that I was a digital health expert, but I did not have a qualification to validate this. A lot of my skills in digital health were learnt on the ground in my jobs. Particularly being a doctor, you are used to having a qualification that demonstrates your knowledge and skills in a specific area. I had competed a medical degree and a master’s in public health which showed I could work in public health. Then, I completed my fellowship from the GP college so I could practice as a GP. Similarly, when I ran a business, I went and completed an MBA to show that I was qualified to run a business.

Having a CHIA certification was proof that I belonged in the digital health industry; I met certain standards in terms of my background, knowledge, and skillset in digital health.

4. What made you choose the CHIA certification program for CCIM Members?

After I gained my CHIA certification, I reached out to the CCIM medical community and surprisingly, nobody had heard of AIDH or the CHIA program. There were people in the medical community who were working on digital health projects (like EMR projects and technology adoption) and were isolated, working in silos. They did not realise that there are other people who cared about the digital health advancement and advocacy.

I made it my mission to connect people from the mainstream medical industry to the digital health community.

This led me to consider – how do I get more doctors doing CHIA? How can I get them connected with AIDH? How can I get more people coming to events? This is what led to the partnership between AIDH and CCIM, for our members to undertake CIHA.

5. What benefits have you experienced after completing your CHIA credential?

In my consulting work, CHIA was an excellent addition when bidding for jobs and contracts. It showed that I have skills and knowledge that has met a national standard. I have also seen the recognition of the CIHA certification grow significantly over time. When I first started using it, organisations were often unaware of what CHIA was. Now, many organisations are listing CHIA as a desirable or mandatory qualification for certain positions. This increased industry recognition of CHIA validates why it is an important certification to hold and gives me a good business case to recommend it to others to obtain.

When helping other organisations develop roles or position descriptions, I will have a conversation about the benefits of adding CHIA.

I am starting to see CHIA used by startups as well. It is a way to differentiate people who have digital health expertise, above and beyond the clinician who uses digital health tools. CHIA is becoming mainstream for businesses who are recruiting and trying to attract people with digital health skills.

6. What feedback have you received from CCIM members who are successful CHIAs today?

I have received a lot of feedback from people whose careers I have curated in some way. For example, I had a call with a doctor who is studying Health Informatics at an internationally renowned University. This person said that it all started at CCIM where she was exposed to digital health as a career option, attended events and was part of a CIHA study group. There have been many careers now that have been catapulted from the CHIA + CCIM program.

The outputs of the CHIA + CCIM program is not just a few letters after your name – it is the trajectory that it puts your career on.

They have become part of the institute, community, events and get exposed to other people working in this industry. Some of the graduates have gone onto careers in digital health startups or are working internationally on digital health projects. These stories show just how different people’s careers have been after going through this program.

Other feedback has been on how great it was to complete CHIA as a group.

7. Do you have any advice for other organisations or individuals considering CHIA?

Find a group or buddy! At CCIM, we got together and spent a few hours each week to learn content from the CHIA program. We would have people summarise content and share practical examples with the group. Being able to compare notes with peers gives you a different perspective on the content you learn. It allowed people to share their expertise and real-life experiences within their own careers.

If you are planning to do CHIA individually, contact AIDH to find out if there are others who are starting at a similar time and see if you can connect to form a group.