Clinical Informatics Expands Its Role in Health Care
Friday, March 29, 2013
As changes in health care evolve, clinical informatics is at the heart of multidisciplinary medical teams and their ability to work together.
“Physicians who practice clinical informatics have so much to contribute to improving patient safety,” says Rebecca L. Johnson, MD, FASCP, Chief Executive Officer of the American Board of Pathology (ABP). “They have the ability to gather medical data at the systems level and analyze it from a population-based perspective. That’s how you make significant improvements.”
“Physicians who practice clinical informatics have so much to contribute for improving patient safety. They have the ability to gather medical data at the systems level and analyze it from a population-based perspective. That’s how you make significant improvements.”
—Rebecca L. Johnson, MD, FASCP, Chief Executive Officer
American Board of Pathology
The ABP and the American Board of Preventive Medicine are co-sponsoring a new clinical informatics subspecialty, which was approved in September 2011 by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). ABP is now accepting applications for certification in the new subspecialty of clinical informatics. The first examination will be administered Oct. 7–18, 2013, at Pearson-VUE test centers across the United States.
“The recognition of clinical informatics as a subspecialty solidifies the discipline and brings credibility to the field,” says Liron Pantanowitz, MD, FASCP, President of the Association of Pathology Informatics and a member of the ABMS committee that is developing the clinical informatics subspecialty examination. “It is one of the pillars of pathology. Clinical informatics has been practiced for many years, but now it is really being recognized.”
Historically, pathologists have taken the lead in clinical informatics, using computer-generated laboratory reports and maintaining large amounts of data that is needed to make critical diagnoses and to recommend appropriate therapies for patient care.
“People have realized that, even in a big enterprise, the chief information officer alone cannot address all informatics issues that are specific to the practice of medicine,” Dr. Pantanowitz says. “The medical boards have rightly recognized that informaticists need to be certified so they’re competent to practice in the field and fulfill this much needed role.”
As with any new subspecialty, there will be a five-year period in which physicians who have practiced clinical informatics may qualify for certification. After that time, pathologists will only qualify for certification if they complete a fellowship program in clinical informatics that is accredited by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
Individuals who seek to qualify through practical experience are required to have spent at least 25 percent of their time (on average 10 hours per week) practicing clinical informatics during three of the past five years immediately preceding application. Practice time must occur in the United States, its territories, or Canada.
Completion of a fellowship program that is acceptable to the ABP may be applied toward the practice requirements. Fellowships of less than 12 months in length may be applied toward the practice pathway. ACGME expects to have proposed fellowship program requirements available for public comment by summer.
For an application, study guide materials, and an examination content outline, visit the ABP website at www.abpath.org.