By Rebecca Ayer
With the use of electronic health records and other systems, medical professionals have access to more patient and population health information and data than ever before. Yet many who work in health care settings are not properly trained to interpret the variety of information at their fingertips.
To address this need, the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and the University of Georgia College of Public Health have partnered with Athens-area health care providers — St. Mary’s Healthcare System, Piedmont Athens Regional and the University of Georgia Health Center — to create the first Clinical Informatics Fellowship for physicians in the state of Georgia.
There is so much patient data available to providers – lab tests and scans, notes from previous visits, prescription notes, said Dr. Dale Green, the fellowship’s director and associate professor in the College of Public Health, but “it’s not a given that all the information is available and accurate to the physician meeting with that patient in that moment. It takes someone thinking about how to bring that data together and make it usable.”
Training in clinical informatics provides clinicians with the skills necessary to collect and examine patient data, calculate patient health risks, and offer transformative care that not only improves the health and well-being of individual patients, but also impacts public health policy.
The Clinical Informatics Fellowship program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, emphasizes expertise in population and public health informatics while preparing fellows for the full range of opportunities in clinical informatics.
Over the course of the two-year program, trainees will be exposed to a variety of “real world” informatics experiences during their clinical rotations. In association with each clinical rotation, fellows will complete a series of practicums. Topics will include business and finance, satisfaction and quality improvement, privacy and security, population health, information sharing and connectivity, and clinical decision support.
“The Clinical Informatics Fellowship is complementary to the graduate medical education programs we already offer here in Athens,” said Dr. Michelle Nuss, AU/UGA Medical Partnership campus dean. “We are excited to expand our program with this fellowship opportunity to new and practicing physicians to better equip them for the challenges of practicing medicine in the 21st century.”
The Clinical Informatics Fellowship is closely affiliated with the College of Public Health’s Health Informatics Institute, and fellows will have various opportunities to get involved in ongoing scholarly projects at the college.
“The College of Public Health is delighted to participate in this fellowship with the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and the Athens medical community to provide a population health perspective to our fellows. This program will expand our commitment to health informatics research and training, and to improving the health of all Georgians,” said College of Public Health interim Dean Marsha Davis.
The fellowship program is open to physicians trained and board certified in at least one other board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Upon completion of the program, fellows are prepared for board certification in clinical informatics through the American Board of Preventative Medicine.