Thursday, October 30, 2014

OHSU Clinical Informatics Fellowship Accredited and Accepting Applications

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program is accepting applications for its inaugural class of fellows to begin in July, 2015. The program was notified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in September, 2014 that it received initial ACGME accreditation. The program is now launching its application process for its initial group of trainees. These fellowships are for physicians who seek to become board-certified in the new subspecialty of clinical informatics. Many graduates will likely obtain employment in the growing number of Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) or related positions in healthcare and vendor organizations.

This fellowship will be structured more like a traditional clinical fellowship than the graduate educational program model that our other offerings. Fellows will work through various rotations in different healthcare settings, not only at OHSU Hospital but also the Portland VA Medical Center. They will also take classes in the OHSU Graduate Certificate Program that will provide them the knowledge base of the field and prepare them for the board certification exam at the end of their fellowship. The program Web site describes the curriculum and other activities in the fellowship.

It is important to note that this clinical informatics fellowship is an addition to the suite of informatics educational offerings by OHSU and does not replace any existing programs. OHSU will continue to have its graduate program (Graduate Certificate, two master's degrees, and PhD degree) as well as its other research fellowships, including the flagship program funded by the National Library of Medicine. The student population will continue include not only physicians, but also those from other healthcare professions, information technology, and a wide variety of other fields. Job opportunities across the biomedical and health informatics continue to be strong and well-compensated.

OHSU was the third program in the country to receive accreditation in the country. Several other programs are also in the process of seeking accreditation, and a number of them will be using OHSU distance learning course materials for the didactic portion of their programs. (This summer, the first two fellows in the Stanford Packard Children's Hospital fellowship program took the introductory biomedical informatics course from OHSU.)

As defined by ACGME, clinical informatics is "the subspecialty of all medical specialties that transforms health care by analyzing, designing, implementing, and evaluating information and communication systems to improve patient care, enhance access to care, advance individual and population health outcomes, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship." The new specialty was launched in 2013, with physicians already working in the field able to sit for the certification exam by meeting prior practice requirements. Starting in 2018, this "grandfathering" pathway will go away, and only those completing an ACGME-accredited fellowship will be board-eligible. Last year, seven OHSU faculty physicians became board-certified in the new clinical informatics subspecialty, including the program director (William Hersh, MD) and two Associate Program Directors (Vishnu Mohan, MD, MBI; Thomas Yackel, MD, MS, MPH).

We look forward to a great group of applicants and the launch of the fellowship next summer. We also look forward to working with colleagues launching similar programs at other institutions as the field of clinical informatics begins to take hold.

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