Sunday, May 24, 2009

Learning about Informatics and Health IT at OHSU

The interest in health IT and biomedical informatics continues to grow, fueled no doubt by federal policy efforts and the economic stimulus plan. One result is that many people have inquired to me about opportunities to learn more about the biomedical informatics field at OHSU. To that end, I am going to describe the options in this posting. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me individually.

OHSU's programs are open to people of all career backgrounds. Our programs have served a wide diversity of people over the years, including those with backgrounds in health care (e.g., medicine, nursing, hospital administration, etc.), IT (e.g., computer scientists, IT professionals, etc.), and many other areas (e.g., health administration, business, public health, law, etc.). There is room for everyone in the big tent of informatics!

While our certificate and degree programs are at the graduate level (i.e., you need to have a bachelor's degree), our 10x10 ("ten by ten") course is open to anyone, even those who do not have a bachelor's degree.

An excellent way to get a broad-based introduction to the field is our on-line introductory biomedical informatics course. This course is offered in a number of flavors, and there are upcoming opportunities for you to enroll. Whatever path you take through the course, you can (assuming you are eligible for graduate study) get credit in our graduate program and be eligible to take more courses in our program if you are interested.

The introductory course is completely on-line and has been completed by about 1000 individuals in the last decade. It covers all the major aspects of biomedical and health informatics, with a focus on informatics applied to health care. It is offered using a variety of asynchronous distance learning teaching modalities, so you do not need to be present on-line at any specific time, although you do need to keep up with the work during the academic term.

One way to take the course is through our regular graduate program. OHSU is on an academic quarter system. Due to continued demand, the introductory course has been offered every academic quarter. The next offering is over the summer quarter, which runs from June 22 to September 11. The course will be offered again in the fall quarter, which runs from September 28 to December 13. To take the course by this pathway, you need to enroll in the OHSU Graduate Certificate program, which is open to anyone with a bachelor's degree. For more information, follow this link to our department Web site and click on the link to the Prospective Students Portal on the lower right:

Another option to take essentially the same course is via the AMIA 10x10 program. This version of the course is offered in partnership with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA). The course is taught in the same on-line, asynchronous manner. It is offered over a slightly longer time period (decompressed with some "off" weeks) and adds an in-person session at the AMIA Annual Symposium, where all the students come together to meet and engage in additional learning. The AMIA Annual Symposium is one of the leading health IT meetings and will be held this year in San Francisco from November 14-18. Registration is already open for the next offering of the 10x10 course, which begins on July 30th and runs until the AMIA meeting. For more information, visit:

If you successfully complete the 10x10 course (and are eligible for graduate study), you can then get credit for the BMI 510 course in our graduate program. Once you are enrolled in the program, you can take additional courses. There is also a relatively easy pathway to advance beyond our Graduate Certificate into our master's degree program (and even the PhD program).

Here is a detailed outline of the introductory course content:

1. Overview of Field and Problems Motivating It
1.1 What is Health/Bio/Medical Informatics?
1.2 A Discipline Whose Time Has Come
1.3 Who Does Biomedical Informatics?
1.4 Problems in Health Care Motivating Biomedical Informatics
1.4 Seminal Documents and Reports
1.5 Resources for Field - Organizations, Information, Education

2. Biomedical Computing
2.1 Types of Computers
2.2 Data Storage in Computers
2.3 Computer Hardware and Software
2.4 Computer Networks
2.5 Software Engineering
2.6 Challenges for Biomedical Computing

3. Electronic Health Records
3.1 Clinical Data
3.2 History and Perspective of the Health (Medical) Record
3.3 Potential Benefits of the Electronic Health Record
3.4 Definitions and Key Attributes of the EHR
3.5 EHR Examples
3.6 Nursing Informatics

4. Clinical Decision Support; EHR Implementation
4.1 Historical Perspectives and Approaches
4.2 Medical Errors and Patient Safety
4.3 Reminders and Alerts
4.4 Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
4.5 Implementing the EHR
4.6 Use and Outcomes of the EHR
4.7 Cost-Benefit of the EHR

5. Standards and Interoperability; Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security
5.1 Standards: Basic Concepts
5.2 Identifier and Transaction Standards
5.3 Message Exchange Standards
5.4 Terminology Standards
5.5 Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security: Basic Concepts
5.6 HIPAA Privacy and Security Regulations

6. Secondary Use of Clinical Data: Personal Health Records, Health Information Exchange, Public Health, Health Care Quality, Clinical Research
6.1 Personal Health Records
6.2 Health Information Exchange
6.3 Public Health Informatics
6.4 Health Care Quality
6.5 Clinical Research Informatics

7. Evidence-Based Medicine and Medical Decision Making
7.1 Definitions and Application of EBM
7.2 Interventions
7.3 Diagnosis
7.4 Harm and Prognosis
7.5 Summarizing Evidence
7.6 Putting Evidence into Practice
7.7 Limitations of EBM

8. Information Retrieval and Digital Libraries
8.1 Information Retrieval
8.2 Knowledge-based Information
8.3 Content
8.4 Indexing
8.5 Retrieval
8.6 Evaluation
8.7 Digital Libraries

9. Imaging Informatics and Telemedicine
9.1 Imaging in Health Care
9.2 Modalities of Imaging
9.3 Digital Imaging
9.4 Telemedicine: Definitions, Uses, and Barriers
9.5 Efficacy of Telemedicine

10. Translational Bioinformatics
10.1 Translational Bioinformatics - The Big Picture
10.2 Overview of Basic Molecular Biology
10.3 Important Biotechnologies Driving Bioinformatics
10.4 Clinical Genetics and Genomics
10.5 Bioinformatics Information Resources
10.6 Translational Bioinformatics Challenges and Opportunities

11. Organizational and Management Issues in Informatics
11.1 Organizational Behavior
11.2 Organizational Issues in Failure and Success of Informatics Projects
11.3 Change Management

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