Israel launches the first High Tech Coronavirus Diploma for Doctors

Israeli university launches the first ever ‘coronavirus diploma’.

“Most medical schools today do not have the necessary knowledge of technology,” said Raphaël Barkan.

The pandemic of the new coronavirus has not only radically changed the world, but has forced doctors and other health professionals to rethink the way they practice medicine, according to Eduard Yakubov, president of the Holon Institute of Technology.

In response, his institute has rethought its offerings and developed a programme focused on training a group of 21st century physicians who not only know how to be excellent clinicians and researchers, but are also able to navigate the cutting-edge technology of the digital world.

The new “coronavirus” diploma programme, officially known as the “digital medical technologies” diploma at HIT, is the original idea of Dr Raphaël Barkan, Vice-President of the School of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and International Business.

“During the coronavirus, doctors had to use telemedicine, data tools and applications to communicate with, treat and diagnose their patients“.

He said the country had initially failed to navigate this territory, having to recruit other corporations to help them switch from pen and paper to computers and other digital tools.

Raphaël Barkan, who is both a doctor and a computer scientist, had already started designing the new programme before COVID-19. But he said that the virus had served as a catalyst to complete it and get it off the ground. It all started with a cohort of new students in October.

“The idea is to train technologically savvy doctors and medical analysts,” said Raphaël Barkan.

The programme combines the basic sciences – chemistry, biology, physics – with studies in information technology and entrepreneurship.

Students work with all of Israel’s major health funds and hospitals to gain practical experience.

The school also houses several laboratories, including what it calls a “Living Lab”: an open space for research and innovation in the form of a flat equipped with intelligent sensors designed as a multidisciplinary space.

The Living Lab addresses the challenges faced by older people in their family environment, including physiological/functional, cognitive and behavioural/mental perspectives.

The laboratory also facilitates the development and implementation of homecare technologies,” according to a brochure provided by the school.

In addition, a medical assistance design and engineering laboratory helps students develop innovative medical and assistance solutions combining design, engineering and IT, among other skills.

According to Barkan and Yakubov, graduates are expected to continue their medical studies in a four-year medical programme or become medical analysts.

“We create the future here every day,” Yakubov said of HIT.

Raphaël Barkan added: “The coronavirus will have a positive effect on medical education in so many other areas”.

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