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Clinical Informatics

The UIC Department of Pathology believes that informatics is critical to the future of the practice of Pathology, which is why we are one of the few pathology departments in the country to have a Division of Informatics within our department.

Pathology is one of the first specialties of medicine to become involved with computers and informatics. The first reported use of computers in the clinical laboratory was in 1952. Telepathology was first demonstrated in Boston in 1968. By the 1970’s Laboratory Information Systems were common throughout clinical laboratories. By the 1990’s the first Division of Pathology Informatics and Pathology Informatics Fellowship were formed at the University of Pittsburgh. Pathology led the original attempt to create a formal subspecialty in informatics in the 2000’s, which paved the way for creation of National Board of Medical Specialty (NBMS) recognition of clinical informatics with a board examination jointly co-sponsored by the American Board of Pathology and American Board of Preventive Medicine.

From: A core curriculum for clinical fellowship training in pathology informatics. J Pathol Inform 2012;3:31

What is Clinical Informatics? Heading link

Many people are curious about this new field of Clinical Informatics (CI) and what it encompasses. Unfortunately, there is not one clear cut definition of this subspecialty of medicine. Even among those of use who work in this field, there is not yet consensus, as CI is so broad and touches so many different aspects of the practice of medicine that each of us comes at it from a slightly different perspective. Also, the rapid rate of evolution in this field causes us to redefine CI on a constant basis.

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) defines clinical informatics as, “the application of informatics and information technology to deliver healthcare services.” According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), CI “promotes the understanding, integration and application of information technology in healthcare settings.” Clinical Informatics is defined in the ACGME program requirements as “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.”

Clinical Informatics sits at the intersection of information science, information systems, workflow and processes, and leadership and management. It is how data is acquired, structured, stored, processed retrieved, analyzed, presented and communicated. CI transforms data into useable actionable information.

Clinical Informatics is not the same thing as information technology (IT) or computer science. We are not computer doctors who fix broken computers or jammed printers. We also are (mostly) not computer programmers who code. From the point of view of CI, healthcare data is our primary focus, and IT is merely one of several sets of tools at our disposal to accomplish our goals and objectives.