Clinical Informatics Becomes a Board-certified Medical Subspecialty Following ABMS Vote

September 22, 2011

AMIA to offer prep courses for clinicians who sit for Board Exam

Washington, DC—Today, AMIA—the association for informatics professionals—announces the success of a multi-year initiative to elevate clinical informatics 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, clinical informatics (CI) certification will be based on a rigorous set of core competencies, heavily influenced by publications on the subject that were developed by AMIA and its members, many of whom have pioneered the field and supported CI’s new status as an ABMS-recognized area of clinical expertise. The goal for the first board exam is to have it available in Fall 2012, 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 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, PhD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Clinical informatics blends medical and informatics knowledge to support and optimize healthcare delivery."

In 2005, AMIA took note that demand for formal training and certification in clinical informatics (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 (ABPM) agreed to sponsor an application for a CI specialty examination, and a year later submitted a formal application to the American Board of Medical Specialties (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 cosponsor the subspecialty with the ABPM. Subsequently, several other medical boards expressed interest in joining as formal co-sponsors.

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, and
  • lead or participate in the procurement, customization, development, implementation, management, evaluation, and continuous improvement of clinical information systems, such as electronic health records and order-entry systems.

"Establishment of the clinical informatics medical subspecialty is consistent with the current emphasis on broadening and professionalizing the health information technology workforce," said AMIA President and CEO Edward H. Shortliffe, MD, PhD. "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. The CI exam will encourage more medical schools to build informatics into their training programs and to begin addressing real-world information management needs of physicians in virtually every work environment."

About AMIA

AMIA is the center of action for 4,000 informatics professionals from more than 65 countries. As the voice of the nation’s top biomedical and health informatics professionals, AMIA and its members play a leading role in assessing the affect of health innovations on health policy, and advancing the field of informatics. AMIA actively supports five domains in informatics: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics.

About ABMS

ABMS Member Boards certify physicians in more than 150 specialties and subspecialties. To see a full list of current specialty and subspecialty certificates offered by ABMS Member Boards, including the American Boards of Preventive Medicine and Pathology, visit www.abms.org/Who_We_Help/Physicians/specialties.aspx

For more information, contact:

Nancy Light
301-657-5903
nlight@amia.org