I like to see things through,” Naveen Gidwani says of his experience helping to launch a secure website to facilitate communication and exchange between doctors and patients. The entrepreneurial venture was his first hands-on experience in the rapidly growing field of health information technology. In a tough economy and after encountering some barriers to move the venture forward, in 2010 he shifted focus to work with physicians in the financial and technological aspects of their practices, with Gidwani in charge of business development for a suburban Chicago company. Wanting to finish building on his earlier experience, Gidwani enrolled in Northwestern’s Master of Science in Medical Informatics (MMI) online program. “The program has helped me use that experience and follow my interest to keep learning and to build a deeper understanding of the field,” says Gidwani.
At age 28, Gidwani is one of the younger students in the MMI program, but he brings years of technology and business experience to online discussions. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University in business administration with coursework in database and systems analysis, Gidwani worked as a technology management analyst at JPMorgan Chase. That experience put him on the MMI’s track for techies, where he is learning more about the policies behind health care in the U.S. His favorite classes have included The American Health Care System; Legal, Ethical, and Social Issues; and Medical Technology Acquisition and Assessment, which he cited for its practicality: “It allowed me hands-on experience, like sitting at the decision-making table.”
Gidwani calls his classmates “incredibly talented people from diverse backgrounds” and says that the online format allows them maximum flexibility to communicate: “Health care is 24/7, so everyone has a different schedule.” Training more people in medical informatics will improve patient outcomes and help lower costs, says Gidwani, who is excited about his career prospects. “My experience in the MMI will set me up for diverse career opportunities. The degree enables you to create a unique career — it could be at a hospital, an outside venture, even a startup.”