Clinical informatics is now board-certified medical subspecialty

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Screenshot courtesy of Chicago Alliance of Community Health Centers

AMIA—the association for informatics professionals—completed a multi-year initiative to elevate clinical informatics (CI) to an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) subspecialty certified by an examination administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and available to physicians who have primary specialty certification through the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Joining such subspecialties as pediatric anesthesiology, medical toxicology, sports medicine, geriatrics medicine and cardiovascular disease, CI certification will be based on core competencies, influenced by publications on subjects developed by AMIA and its members, many of whom have pioneered and supported the CI field and supported.

The goal for the first board exam is to have it available by fall 2012, with the first certificates awarded in early 2013. To prepare physicians who wish to sit for this examination, AMIA is developing preparatory materials both as online and in-person courses starting in the spring of 2012.

In 2005, AMIA noted that demand for formal training and certification in CI was growing among physicians. Two years later, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, AMIA launched a process to define the core content of the CI specialty and the training requirements for proposed CI fellowships (that would be accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education). In 2009, the American Board of Preventive Medicine agreed to sponsor an application for a CI specialty exam, and a year later submitted an application to the ABMS to consider the creation of a new specialty certification. Once submitted, the ABPM proposal attracted support from the American Board of Pathology, which will co-sponsor the subspecialty with the ABPM.

The role of the clinical informatician is to use his/her knowledge of patient care in combination with an understanding of informatics concepts, methods and tools to:

  • Assess information and knowledge-based needs of healthcare professionals and patients.
  • Characterize, evaluate, and refine clinical processes.
  • Develop, implement, and refine clinical decision support systems
  • Lead or participate in the procurement, customization, development, implementation, management, evaluation and continuous improvement of CI systems, such as EHRs and order entry systems.