Find out more about the educational path this alum pursued.
Meet Paul Bujdoso, MHA-I '09
Registered nurse Paul Bujdoso was working as a staff educator at an Ohio hospital when he decided he was ready for a new career challenge. He wanted to stay within the healthcare industry, but at the same time he aspired to completely change his focus. Given his interest in computers, healthcare informatics seemed like the logical choice for an area to move into. “I knew that informatics was an emerging career path,” explains Paul. “I just wasn’t sure what type of position I would end up in.”
Knowing he would need a strong educational foundation to get his foot in the door, Paul enrolled in an online Master of Health Administration program at the University of Phoenix, choosing a degree that emphasized informatics.
Like many busy professionals who return to school, Paul found it challenging to juggle his coursework, his hospital job, and his family obligations. He remembers one family vacation in particular, where he had to make a special effort to ensure he had online access the entire time. Yet overall, the flexibility of online learning worked well for him and he found it easy and rewarding to interact with his instructors and classmates. “There were students who went through most of the classes with me; we worked closely on projects and I formed a bond with some of them,” he remembers.
Paul completed the MHA degree program by devoting most of his evenings and weekends to his coursework. He started job-hunting right away, and his timing was good. AlterCare of Ohio, a health system comprised of 18 post-acute care facilities, was looking for an informatics specialist and Paul landed the job. His first project was implementing an electronic medical records (EMR) system that would replace paper records across all of the facilities. This is a daunting job by any measure, but Paul felt his education at the University of Phoenix had prepared him well for the real world. “It helped me understand the inner workings of EMR systems in general, as well as giving me some insights into managing that type of a project,” he says.
In 2013, an opportunity arose in nearby Columbus, Ohio, and Paul moved into the position of director of clinical informatics for Atrium Centers, a regional provider of short-term post-acute rehabilitation and long-term nursing care. Once again, he was called upon to roll out a new EMR system, this time to 20 post-acute care facilities. He was now in charge of health information management at a total of 41 facilities in four states. Over the course of the next year, Paul also began managing the company’s learning management system (LMS), a software platform that allows staff training programs to be delivered, tracked, and documented over the Internet—bringing Paul full-circle from his own online learning experience with the University of Phoenix®.
Today, Paul oversees an EMR system that is used by 4500 health professionals (including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, accountants, and department heads) and an LMS system that is used by 4000 staff members (including 800 nurses). He manages huge amounts of health information on a daily basis, and his passion is using that data to enhance patient safety and quality of care. “A large focus of my job is improving quality,” Paul explains. “The system is becoming more and more integrated, so as nurses document patient care, we extract some of that data for analysis. At my level, I can see which facilities are potentially at risk for an infection outbreak, or which patients are at risk for falls. Every day, I direct regional staff to take a closer look at specific patients in specific facilities.”
Not surprisingly, Paul’s ultimate career goal is to become a vice president of quality. In addition to his current informatics job, he is a senior quality award examiner for the American Health Care Association® (AHCA®) and is active in industry healthcare quality initiatives. “The quality of the education I received was a big part of why I’m in the position I hold now,” says Paul.
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