Friday, September 30, 2011

Here Is Something We Should Be Thinking About For Australia Over Time. It Will Be A Five Year Journey At Least!

The American Medical Information Association seems to have achieved something of a coup!
This was announced a few days ago

Clinical informatics to be certified subspecialty

Posted: September 23, 2011 - 11:45 am ET
For the first time, physicians will have the opportunity to become board-certified in the subspecialty of clinical informatics, the American Medical Informatics Association announced.
The American Board of Preventive Medicine will administer a clinical informatics examination for physicians seeking certification in the subspecialty, which the American Board of Medical Specialties recently voted to recognize. Physicians who have primary specialty certification through the ABMS will have the opportunity to sit for the exam.

The target timeline is to have the exam available by fall 2012 and the first certificates awarded in early 2013, according to an AMIA news release. The association will develop materials for online and in-person courses for physicians wanting to prep for the exam, the release noted, adding that materials should be available next spring.

"Establishment of the clinical informatics medical subspecialty is consistent with the current emphasis on broadening and professionalizing the health information technology workforce," AMIA President and CEO Dr. Edward Shortliffe said in the release. "With the need over the next decade for 50,000 informatics professionals in the health sector with various levels of expertise, this focus on physician expertise in clinical informatics is clearly a step in the right direction."

More here:
There is also a blog on the same topic from the same author here:
By Joseph Conn

Professional medicine officially embraces IT

The big news in healthcare information technology last week was the announcement by the American Medical Informatics Association that "official medicine" is finally climbing aboard the IT train.
By late 2012, for the first time, physician informaticists will be able to sit for an exam and gain board certification in the subspecialty of clinical informatics.
The American Board of Preventive Medicine will administer the exam, which the American Board of Medical Specialties has voted to recognize. Certificates should be issued by early 2013—matching a timeline published in March 2010 by former AMIA President and CEO Dr. Don Detmer.
AMIA has been working toward certification in clinical informatics since 2005. The AMIA board received a 2007 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop the content and requirements.
Under the plan, practicing physician informaticists who have been university-trained in medical informatics or informally educated can take the board exam for the first five years.
More here:
Additionally there is coverage here:

Clinical informatics becomes a board-certified medical subspecialty

September 23, 2011 | Diana Manos, Senior Editor
WASHINGTON – The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has now recognized clinical informatics as a subspecialty, according to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA).
AMIA officials announced the news Thursday following what they called “a multi-year initiative” to elevate clinical informatics to an ABMS subspecialty.
According to AMIA, the certification will be available to physicians who have primary specialty certification through ABMS.
Clinical informatics (CI) certification will be based on “a rigorous set of core competencies,” developed by AMIA and its members. AMIA said many of its members have pioneered the field and supported CI’s new status as an ABMS-recognized area of clinical expertise.
AMIA anticipates the first CI board exam to be available next fall, with the first certificates awarded early in 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 spring 2012.
“It is entirely appropriate and timely to certify clinical informatics as a specialized area of training and expertise in an era when more and more clinicians are turning to data-driven, computer-assisted clinical decision support to provide care for their patients,” said AMIA’s Board of Directors Chair Nancy M. Lorenzi, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Clinical informatics blends medical and informatics knowledge to support and optimize healthcare delivery.”
More here:
AMIA provides a link to a page which explains just what is covered, what the speciality is and what those in the profession add to clinical care.
See here:
At present it seems that informatics is to be seen as a sub-speciality for someone who already holds specialist certification but the president of AMIA has also said that other paths to certification are being considered actively. This quote shows the forward plans:
“A press release on the subject (of certification) was distributed last week (see “AMIA in the News” on and the feedback and interest have been remarkably positive.  Meanwhile, recognizing that many individuals who wish to obtain clinical informatics certification will not be eligible for the ABMS examination, AMIA’s Academic Forum is working with the association’s leadership to develop additional certification options.  A special task force is considering various ways in which AMIA can work to assure that clinical informatics certification is available to everyone, regardless of whether the person is a board-certified physician.
AMIA has also started development of board review courses that will assist members and other physicians who wish to take the ABMS/ABPM exam.  The boards will not be offered until at least the autumn of 2012, but there is much to do in the meantime to develop the review courses while the ABPM is developing the examination itself.”
Given the diverse skill sets and origins of people who wish to be involved professionally in Health Informatics (computing, engineering, medicine, nursing and others) this seem very sensible and pragmatic.
To me the most important thing is to have both professional recognition and real career paths for people interested in the area. Both are needed to encourage people with the right skill mixes to join in!
This is a step the Australasian College of Health Informatics should be working towards over time.

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