Geisinger Clinical Informatics challenges common practice, embeds best practice, carefully applies cutting edge technology and facilitates discovery through the application of informatics. The group incorporates the Geisinger vision and mission into the Information System, from the ground up, and makes use of data collected as a by-product of clinical care for secondary purposes, such as for research, education and financial sustainability, to maximize the healthcare value for Geisinger's patients.
Clinical Informatics is a multidisciplinary field that uses health information technology (HIT) to improve healthcare via any combination of higher quality, higher efficiency (spurring lower cost and thus greater availability) and new opportunities. Geisinger's multi-disciplinary team is comprised of physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and IT technical informaticists, many of whom are board certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) and also board certified within their clinical specialty or subspecialty areas.
The Division of Informatics houses the physician informatician component of the multi-disciplinary team. These highly specialized physicians apply clinical and technical expertise to clinical optimization of electronic health data and to research efforts with the goal of educating and improving care processes. Creating clinical transformation through applied clinical informatics ensures evidence-informed design and configuration of information systems that take into account clinician and patient input, prioritize requests, reengineer workflow and test/build/deploy systems with the intent to improve care and add value (outcomes plus patient experience/cost).
To build these skills, the Division of Informatics launched a Clinical Informatics Fellowship in 2016 to train physicians in the field of informatics.
Under the hood:
What makes Clinical Informatics cool?
Challenge: Focused, coordinated clinical informatics is necessary in an environment faced with tectonic transformation and much needed consolidation of information resources. In this environment, healthcare systems have developed clinical informatics groups to address the complexity associated with applying modern technology to clinical workflow.
- Contact with front line clinicians. The clinical informaticists are best poised to generate ideas and obtain advice from their front-line clinician colleagues given their knowledge of both clinical workflows and the information systems that are designed to support them.
- Positioned close to end users. Clinical transformation belongs outside of the IT department, closer to the end-users that are responsible for operationalizing change and providing feedback to iterate the changes over time.
- Clinical expertise is translated into consensus drive HIT. Clinical informaticists obtain clinical input through a sustainable clinical input architecture that encourages engagement among physicians, patients, researchers, students and administrators. Expertise and informatics are aligned into the design, configuration and optimization of the electronic health record (EHR) and other clinical systems.
- Resources are optimized and prioritized toward important healthcare issues. Clinical Informatics function as part of a transparent, balanced prioritization mechanism that ensure resources are allocated to solve the most pressing, challenging healthcare questions. This mechanism involves prioritizing, standardizing and optimizing clinical workflow within HIT across all patient venues.
- Tuned in with organizational patterns and needs. Patterns emerge from exposure to Geisinger's vision, end-users requests, regulatory mandates, and vendor roadmaps; informaticists have the aptitude to develop a multi-year clinical transformation roadmap which tunes themes of system changes at the rate the organization can absorb.
- Develop scalable and generalizable tools for industry. In line with Geisinger's ability to innovate, custom programs are built and tested and those meeting necessary criteria are hardened with intent to scale and generalize.
- Clinical Informatics is future-focused. An informatics roadmap is actively managed that outlines the sequence of technologies and innovation used by Clinical Informatics, including the sequence of system upgrades and new technologies over a multi-year timeline. The system involves collective feedback and transparency.
- Clinical informaticists utilize the latest in technology. Geisinger contracted commercial systems are up to date with the latest versions and technologies with particular focus on system usability and user efficiency. Rapid deployment of the latest available tools from EHR vendors and retirement of legacy customization no longer necessary ensures streamlined operations and continued evolution of the technology utilized.
- Ensure evidence-based and thorough, peer-reviewed research. Clinical informaticists study available informatics evidence, apply within Geisinger deployments and publish new discoveries in peer-review literature. Geisinger informaticians certify through AMIA 10x10 distant learning to build informatics strength, and apply industry research and make recommendations to clinical operations.