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November 17, 2010 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-17

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46 -hp - Ndedy Noeme 17 2010 - 0 -

Wednesday, November 5g

OTCNI

FOR COLLEGE GRADS
A recent study published by the University of California at San Diego examined the top careers
for recent college grads. We profile the top 10 here.
STORY BY MALLORY BEBERMAN I ILLUSTRATIONS BY SIMON BORST I DESIGN BY HERMES RISIEN

1. HEALTH INFO TECH
This past July, President Barack Obama signed new leg-
islation that will reward hospitals that optimize their use
of electronic health records, creating a greater a need for
health information technicians.
The Department of Health and Human Services could
grant doctors and hospitals up to $27 billion over the
next 10 years to turn all of their paper medical records
into electronic ones. Furthermore, with this legislation,
doctors and hospitals that do not use electronic medi-
cal records by 2015 could face financial infractions from
Medicare.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employ-
ment of medical records and health information techni-
cians will grow 20 percent faster than the average rate of
all other occupations through 2018.
Professionals in this field generally have an associate
degree and have strong computer software and technol-
ogy skills, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Information technicians should also be familiar with
medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, clinical
classification and coding systems.
"Health information technology makes it possible
for health care providers to better manage patient care
through secure use and sharing of health information,"
the office of the National Coordinator for Health Infor-
mation Technology's website states.
The website also says health information technology
allows hospitals to provide their patients with improved
care since electronic medical records enable doctors to
diagnose health issues faster, decrease the frequency of
medical errors and better coordinate the care they give.
Specifically, health information technicians compile
reports that detail patients' medical history, symptoms,
examination results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods
and all other relevant information. As electronic health
records are more frequently used, technicians must
understand the EHR software programs, how to main-
tain a high-level of EHR security and how to analyze the
eletronic data.

2. DATA MANAGER
Before a cancer drug can be put on the market, it must be
proven effective and beneficial to those who take it. That's
where drug testers come in.
The tiring process that is drug testing - from the time
the drug is discovered to the time it is put on the market
- usually takes 12 years, said Marleen Meyers, M.D. and
assistant professor of medicine at the New York University
Clinical Cancer Center.
Meyers explained that oncology drugs, or cancer drugs,
are developed differently than they were 30 years ago.
"Going back 30 years, they would have been drugs that
would have hit many cancers atonce," she said.
But now, she explained, the focus is on smart drugs.
"Smart drugs try to hit on particular DNA pathways in the
cell so they are formulated on individual types of cancer,"
she said.
When a drug is first discovered it is tested on lab animals,
usually rats. Meyers said that a rat is injected with cancer
and then with the new drug. A rat's liver metabolizes a drug
in a much different way than a human, she said, but none-
theless if the drug proves effective to the rats human trials
ensue.
In Phase I of human trials, Meyers said a small number
of patients - who have already tried multiple other cancer
treatments in the past - are enrolled in the study.
"The goal is not to see whether (the drug) works or not,
but rather the goal is to see the maximum tolerated dose at
which more people do well than have severe side effects,"
she said.
Phase Itrials willusuallynot directly benefitthe patients,
but might benefit others in the future, she added.
If people are found to tolerate the drug, Phase II trials
begin. According to Meyers, Phase II is concerned with
discovering if the drug works, and involves a larger subject
pool of people who have not undergone as manyothertreat-
ments. Phase III of the process involves comparing the new
drug to drugs already on the market, and explores whether
the new drug will be cost effective and improve someone's
life span more than drugs already available.

Data managers, who conduct clinical trial designs for the
testing of oncology drugs, are responsible for supervising
the trials. Meyers said their job usually includes working
with statisticians to analyze results, communicating with
patients about the studies, keeping the data organized,
making sure people get their lab tests and CAT scans done
on time and making sure to follow up on patients' progress.
"If we have a data manager who is collecting data in a
sloppy way and we are being funded by a grant from a pri-
vate corporation, they will take the grant away," she said.
"We rely really heavilyon the data managers and the people
who are working with the clinical trial design not only to
make sure that (the study) will say something real but also
to be excessively precise with what's happening with the
data."
The need for more data managers andother professionals
involved in clinical trials is important for a number of rea-
sons. Meyers said that because it takes so long for a drug to
be released to the market, the public is "clamoring for ways
that we can move this process along." one possible solution
is to change the emphasis of drug trials from a crude obser-
vation of how long people can live after they take the drug,
to a more sensitive method of looking at the changes of a
person's individual tumor as it is being treated. This indi-
viduated and more specific approach requires more person-
nel than the current studies do, she said.
A second reason for the increased need for data manag-
ers in clinical trial design is because of the policy changes
in health care and funding. Meyers said that, as insurance
changes, drug companies will need to provide insurance
companies with proof that these drugs are worth the extra
money to test them.
For students interested in pursuing a career in clinical
trials design and management for oncology, Meyers recom-
mends taking classes in biology, genetics, chemistry and
statistics. She also said that students should be comfortable
talkingto sick people because this job entails a lot of direct-
patient contact.
Continued on Page 6B

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7. HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNICIAN 2. DATA MANAGER 3. DATA MINER 4. EMBEDDED ENGINEER 5. WEB FEATURE WRITER
. GERIATRIC HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL 7. MOBILE MEDIA DEVELOPER 8. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SPECIALIST
9. SPANISH/ENGLISH TRANSLATOR 10. SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES

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