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Computer Experts Help Progress L.A.'s Medical Industry

As the demand for new and better technology grows, job prospects for skillful computer and information research scientists will continue to expand in the coming years. Most available posts require a doctoral degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering. In Los Angeles, these studied professionals earn an average annual salary of about $124,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The value of their purposeful work is indispensable, especially within the medical industry.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Steven Jacobsen, MD)

"Our many years of comprehensive education and specialized training enable us to use information collected in electronic health records to identify opportunities for improving care, conduct studies to understand practices that work best and develop tools to help implement and disseminate practices based on what we learn," said Dr. Steven Jacobsen, MD, a senior director of research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, who holds a Ph.D in public health sciences.

How are you attracting qualified scientists?

"We provide an environment in which scientists can be at the forefront of conducting applied research for which the findings are directly translatable to patient care and operations. Moreover, we offer scientists a competitive package, similar to start-up packages for new faculty at a traditional academic setting, to support bid and proposal efforts."

How will a research scientist's role change by 2025?

"There will be even more opportunities to develop new tools. We've only scratched the surface in our efforts to leverage electronic health records. Real-time decision support, panel management and the use of tools by teams outside of the traditional patient-physician relationship will all rely on the skill sets of these scientists."

What is the best way for research scientists to prepare for sustainable careers?

"In the health care field, it's very useful to get some experience in health care operations on the ground level. There are many inter-dependencies that can be leveraged."

What is your message to aspiring computer and information research scientists?

"I always encourage professionals entering this field to keep an eye on the real-world applications and how the end user will use them. That should be a guiding force for creativity."

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to

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