Like a scene from a science fiction movie, a patient pulls up her EKG stats on a smart watch and sees an alert due to an irregular heart rhythm. She immediately schedules an appointment with her physician and, after additional tests, receives a diagnosis for arrhythmia. The ability to monitor her own health vitals in real-time prompted this patient to seek medical attention before experiencing more serious or potentially fatal symptoms.
In the rapidly growing field of digital health, this is but one of the many devices already available to the public that will improve the delivery and quality of healthcare services. This technology will also create a need for physicians who are knowledgeable about the various applications of digital technology and who are cognizant of emerging digital tools. Students at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) having an interest in digital health will soon have the opportunity to join the Digital Health Track, a new specialized educational track that will be the first program of its kind in the nation to be offered at an osteopathic medical school.
Available on both the Colorado and Southern Utah campuses starting in January of 2020, the Digital Health Track will provide students with the ability to effectively solve complex healthcare challenges through the utilization of technology. The track will incorporate training in artificial intelligence, remote monitoring, ethics in use and application of technology, telemedicine and telehealth, population health analytics, social media in medicine, nanotechnology, and much more. It will be led on the Colorado campus by Course Director Cole Zanetti, DO, MPH, Primary Care Section Chief for Veteran Affairs - Eastern Colorado Health Care System and Technical Expert Panel Member for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Regan Stiegmann, DO, MPH, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Owaves, will be the Course Director for the track on the Southern Utah campus. Dr. Stiegmann graduated from RVUCOM in 2014.
In addition to a pioneering curriculum, students will be required to complete two digital-related externships during their clinical years. “This two-semester track is for students who have a strong desire to learn about the cutting edge world of delivering medicine digitally,” said Camille Z. Bentley, DO, MPH, FACOFP, Chair of the Department of Tracks and Special Programs.
With this new educational track offering, RVUCOM will be at the forefront of an industry that is further integrating technology and medicine to make quality healthcare accessible to all. Students will not only enrich their medical education through participation in the track, but also help fill in the gap of trained and competent professionals in the field of digital health.
Applications for the track will open in October. Up to twelve students from each campus will be selected to participate.