We caught up with Isaiah Luc, Health economist at Adelaide Health Technology Assessment.

Isaiah Luc

Isaiah Luc

Health Economist, Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA)

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

I was working for the SA Department for Health and Wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and we were very stretched in the early stages. There was a clear need to decrease the amount of manual labour by automating our data systems to improve overall efficiency. I investigated several simple strategies to streamline our data processing, including creating automated dashboards and daily reports. This was quite enjoyable for me and at that point, I’d realised I had found my niche in the public health world – in the data and technical area. Throughout my career, I have continued down that path, gradually increasing the complexity of my work.

2. What have been your favourite aspects of working in this field?

The most favoured aspect would be drawing conclusions from a set of data, communicating those conclusions and how I made those conclusions to the relevant stakeholders. I enjoy the whole process of constructing data systems and models.

“..through data processing, I can have a direct impact on public health policy”.

Through data processing, I can have a direct impact on public health policy, using the data that I’ve processed. I find this quite satisfying and rewarding. In my current role, I make recommendations to decision-making bodies based on datasets. I really enjoy manipulating the data, visualising it and communicating why I’ve come to those recommendations.

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

My undergraduate degree was in medical science, predominantly focused on clinical trials. I didn’t really enjoy being in a lab. I enjoyed the public health space more, so I followed this with a Master of Public Health. It is a big field but luckily working in the health department enabled access to a broad range of opportunities.

CHIA was my first formal learning experience in the data/health informatics field. I enjoyed managing data systems for the department and was adamant that I wanted to follow this career path. One of our internal newsletters mentioned the department was sponsoring several employees to undertake CHIA. I didn’t know what CHIA was at the time, but I did some research into health informatics and CHIA. It lined up quite well with my career goals and I thought it would help consolidate some of my experience into formal learning.

4. What was your experience like when completing CHIA?

It was a challenging program but not having done any formal IT training, it was exciting. Everyone enters CHIA with their own expertise and knowledge from their background experience.

“I enjoyed learning the other aspects of health informatics that were new to me”.

However, I also enjoyed learning about the other aspects of being a health informatician; information technology, specific health informatics topics, leadership and management, and data security.

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

The biggest benefit is being able to effectively communicate how health data is managed, stored, and transformed. It is crucial to communicate data and information and visualise it in a way that non-expert audiences can understand. I can do this much better since completing CHIA. I am also more wary of how data is stored and how some ways of handling data are potentially unsecure.

Another benefit is being part of a community of like-minded professionals who are all interested in information technology and data in the health sphere.

6. Any advice to others interested in completing the certification?

Set aside a great deal of time to study. It is a steady mountain to climb, and you cannot cram the content in a few days. Instead, set aside a few hours each day to study the content. Pay attention to the key learning competencies (the descriptor for each of the 53 CHIA competencies) and the level of understanding (or points) that each competency is worth. Understanding these and applying them are really important.