Even as a teenager, Bhavesh (Bhav) Patel had a passion for computers. However, when he reached 10th grade in his native India – the year when a person’s career path is decided – he did not pursue computers.
“Fate and my father put me on a different path, which was pharmacy,” Patel said in an interview. But even though he earned a degree in pharmacy, Patel never lost his love for computers.
Years later, he has finally combined his love of computers with healthcare, earning a Master of Science in Health Informatics 100% online from the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine. Patel said he now is “proficient in both pharmacy and computers.” He currently works as a pharmacy informatics specialist and shared his plans for advancing his career after earning his degree.
“Once I have gained maximum experience, with my degree I would like to realign my career as a CIO after obtaining a FACHE (Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives) certification.”
Patel’s Road to USF Health’s MSHI Program
Patel was born and raised in India. Even after he graduated with a degree from Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, he still maintained an interest in computers. He moved to England to pursue a Master of Science in Pharmacology and Biotechnology at Sheffield Hallam University. But he continued to teach himself computer programming.
During his time as a student, he also worked for Fulcrum Connections, a gas piping company, where he developed a software that saved the company $50,000. “This was the point at which I realized that computer programing was still my passion,” Patel said.
Patel returned to India to live closer to his family, working for two and half years as a professor at Shri Sarvajanik Pharmacy College. However, in 2007 he married, and his wife lived in the United States. Patel moved to New York City, and then they moved to Florida.
During this time, he continued to create software, including a system for pharmacy students to practice for the law exam. In 2010, the UF Health Central Florida hired Patel as a pharmacy informatics specialist, recognizing his skills in information technology.
Through it all, Patel said he has remained a “people person,” adding that “I am known to make friends wherever I go, and I like to enjoy life to the fullest!”
Why Patel Chose USF Health
Patel decided to earn his MS in Health Informatics from USF Health because “I wanted to officially have a degree in informatics as I would like to further my career.”
He also said the online program offered him the flexibility he needs as he has a wife, two sons and a full-time job.
He chose USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine because “the University of South Florida is ranked as one of the best medical schools. I have only heard great things about this college.”
The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine is a HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Approved Education Partner, a designation given only to institutions that meet rigorous HIMSS standards for delivering healthcare and health IT education.
USF Health also is a member of the HIMSS Academic Organizational Affiliate program, which qualifies eligible students for HIMSS student membership and access to the HIMSS Learning Center. The Learning Center offers students access to virtual live events, on-demand videos, whitepapers and much more.
Favorite Professors and Classes
Patel said he felt nervous at first about earning his degree through an online program. However, he said the program made it very convenient to prevail in all aspects of life, such as education, family and work.
When asked about which professors made a lasting impression on him, Patel said: “To express the truth, all of the professors are tremendous. They are all clinicians or IT professionals with great experience in a professional setting and education.”
He said one professor who stood out for him personally was Professor Athanasios Tsalatsanis, who not only taught well in the classroom but offered help when class was not in session. He added that Professor Kelsey Schwei is “also brilliant at teaching, and she went outside the scope of the course to answer my questions and concerns.”
Tsalatsanis taught Patel’s favorite class in the graduate degree program’s curriculum, Introduction to Healthcare Analytics. The course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the current state of the science and practice of healthcare analytics.
“Professor Tsalatsanis did not just show me how to populate data, he showed me how to analyze that data for meaningful use. The same class also helped me present extracted data in the form of a visual presentation by means of graphs,” Patel said.
Advice for New Students
Patel said one of the most challenging aspects of his time as an online student at USF involved striking a balance between studies, his children, family and work. “However, at the same time, I learned that my limits can be stretched,” Patel said.
He also enjoyed a strong support system, which is often the key to student success. Patel first mentioned his wife, who he thanked “for standing strong by my side during this difficult time in the last two years. She gave me the courage to re-enroll and further my education. When you have someone who believes in you and pushes you to not be complacent with life, the impossible becomes possible.”
He also said he was driven to earn his master’s degree to provide an example to his two young sons. “My perseverance and my two boys inspire me to succeed in education and life. I want to be successful as if they see me striving for the sky, they will most likely do the same.”
He said his employer, Paul Sullivan and Alex Chang, UF Health Central Florida, also encouraged him to earn his degree and that it was “a great comfort” that his employer had faith in him to pursue his educational goals. He also said his co-workers encouraged him and “stood by my side.”
“I have the great pleasure of both working with and managing Bhav Patel for the past few years. Bhav’s professionalism and high level of competence are impressive on all levels. Bhav has a fantastic understanding of all aspects of informatics within the healthcare domain. His creative and innovative approach to the informatics process improvement has been very much appreciated by both leadership and his cohorts. We are very pleased with Bhav’s well deserved success and will continue to support Bhav during his growth and development within our outstanding organization,” said Patel’s supervisor, Paul Sullivan, PharmD, MBA, FACHE.
As for advice to others, Patel said: “Nothing is impossible no matter where you are in your life. USF Health makes it convenient to have a balance, and the professors are exceptional.”
Interested in becoming part of the change in Health IT?
Learn more about USF Health’s MS in Health Informatics program.