Donald W. Simborg, MD, FACMI

Year Elected: 1984

Institution When Elected: University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Currently: Retired

Biography and photograph when elected: 

Dr. Simborg is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and is a member of the Division of Internal Medicine. He also serves as the Chief Information Officer for the UCSF Hospital. He received his MD in 1966 from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed residency training as an Osler Medical Resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He continued on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Departments of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering until 1976. During this period he also served as the Chief of Clinical Information Systems for the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1976 he assumed his current positions at UCSF. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

His informatics career began in the early 1960s as a computer programmer working at the Argonne National Laboratory. During medical school from 1962 to 1966 he developed software for analyzing cardiac arrhythmias from electrocardiograms resulting in his first informatics related publication. As a medical resident in 1969, he developed a comprehensive order entry and nursing unit information system known as WIMS (Ward Information Management System) which was implemented on a medical unit of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In the outpatient medical clinic at Hopkins he implemented a patient problem-list tracking system. As Chief of Clinical Information Systems until 1976, he collaborated with other clinicians in developing a Radiology Reporting System which was later marketed by the Siemens Corporation and an inpatient Pharmacy Unit-dose dispensing system. While at UCSF from 1976 to the present, in addition to managing the hospital's Information Systems Department, he has been involved extensively in informatics research and development receiving multiple federal and foundation grants. The most significant result of these efforts is the development and deployment of the first true peer-to-peer network in a hospital connecting multiple systems over a fiber optic medium utilizing an application-level data interchange protocol. This was deployed in 1979 to connect four departmental systems at the hospital.

Dr. Simborg participates as a faculty member of the degree program in Medical Informatics under the direction of Dr. Marsden Blois. As a preceptor in this program as well as the Clinical Scholars program, significant informatics applications have been implemented at UCSF including STOR (Summary Time-Oriented Record) with Dr. Whiting-O'Keefe and the first hospital-based Patient Identification System utilizing a probabilistic record-matching algorithm with Max Arellano. He is a frequent speaker at medical informatics meetings and a participant in many informatics-related organizations.