Clinical Informatics: Is It the Right Field for You?

Marlene Busko


February 07, 2019

Get Involved Early, Experts Advise

"A medical student or resident who thinks [he or she] may be interested" in a career as a clinical informaticist "should get involved," Grasso advises, and he offers three practical suggestions.

Join a professional society. "First and foremost, join AMIA," urges Grasso, who also wrote about this for emergency medical residents. "They were really the force behind creating this medical specialty."

Get experience. "Second, find somebody working with medical data in your hospital," he continued. "There's probably a CMIO. Go find him or her and see what you could do to help. Get a little research project or something like that." Similarly, Desai stresses that "the first thing that medical students or residents that are interested in informatics should do is at least understand what the field involves."

"Get to know some of the people in the organization that are involved with those things," he advises. It could be the CMIO or someone on that team, or a safety or quality expert, or anyone else who uses an EHR to improve care at their local institution. "I think it is worth reaching out," he suggested, "if you have a division of informatics to see what the academic opportunities are for collaboration or maybe picking up a pet research project."

Read. "Start reading what's out there in the literature," Grasso advises. "The best place to start would be JAMIA. Medical students and residents are also urged to take advantage of educational opportunities. "Some institutions, such as ours," Desai said, "have an elective that residents can take, and there are ways for medical students too to get involved in informatics research."

"I think that early exposure is helpful as you are going through your training program," he added, "so then you are much better informed when it comes time to actually apply for an informatics fellowship."

Last Words

"I think it's a very rewarding career for people who enjoy working with technology, working with data, but also not losing sight of the patient and the practice of medicine," Hersh summarized.


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