Providing informatics education in residency pays dividends
Health IT Trends
The specialty of clinical informatics has a rapidly growing number of fellowships,
with nearly 30 programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical
Education (ACGME). However, there are limited educational opportunities for residents
to learn about the intersection of clinical medicine and health information technology
and expose them to the field of clinical informatics.
To address this shortfall, many residency programs are developing clinical informatics
curricula that allow residents to work on projects in informatics, attend hospital-wide
meetings involving digital health care and meet with informaticians to learn about
The clinical informatics curriculum at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP),
for example, offers residents elective rotations that combine didactics with online
electronic health record (EHR) training modules. There also is a “sandbox” development
environment where residents can build on an existing informatics project or initiate
“We’ve found that providing residents with access to a development environment early
in their informatics training accelerates improvements to the quality of care delivered
by residents, empowers residents to solve problems and fosters interest in clinical
informatics,” said Anthony A. Luberti, M.D., FAAP, medical director of informatics
education at CHOP.
The CHOP program also created a four-week independent elective unit in clinical informatics
in response to the growing interest in informatics education and the recent ACGME
requirements allowing residents to pursue career-advancing rotations earlier in training.
Residents can join the informatics interest group to learn more about hospital initiatives
and nationwide trends and participate in work groups to improve the hospital’s EHR.
Residents are in a unique position to improve EHRs because of their fresh perspectives
and motivation to see improvements to their workflow and the care of their patients.
Empowering residents with a few basic tools also introduces them to the principles
of clinical informatics and increases their understanding of the institutional requirements
needed to make changes.
“My residency training in clinical informatics led me to pursue a field that I otherwise
wouldn’t have known existed,” said Mark Mai, M.D., a first-year clinical informatics
fellow at CHOP.
Educational opportunities for resident physicians can accelerate implementation of
meaningful improvements while preparing residents to become proficient in the electronic
era. Education for residents also is meeting the need for early exposure to informatics,
increasing the number of qualified applicants for clinical informatics fellowships
and more pediatricians trained as health informatics professionals.
Dr. Luo is a member of the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees and a resident at Children’s
Hospital of Philadelphia.