Charles Safran, MD, FACMI

Year Elected: 
1990
Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Currently: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
Website: www.hmfpinformatics.org/people/csafran.shtml
2014 Morris F. Collen Award - Video Tribute external link

Biography and photograph when elected: 

Charlie Safran is an Assistant Professor of Medicine of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Research at the Center for Clinical Computing, Beth Israel Hospital.  A 1974 graduate of Tufts University where he earned a Bachelors in Science and a Masters in Mathematical Logic, he became a founding member of the Medical Decision Making Group at MIT’s Project MAC in 1973.  While at MIT he developed an early Bayesian decision support system to help stage patients with Hodgkin’s disease. 

In 1980 he graduated from Tufts medical School and completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Boston’s VA Medical Center.  In 1983 he joined Dr. Howard Bleich and Warner Slack at the Beth Israel Hospital.  In 1984 he was awarded a new investigator award from the National Library of Medicine to develop a library of decision trees to support clinical decision-making.  He helped develop the clinical computing systems at Beth Israel and Brigham and Women’s hospitals. The computer system at Beth Israel Hospital was called the CCC system and the system at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) was called the BICS system. His contribution was the design and organization of interfaces between clinicians and users.

As Director of Research at the Center for Clinical Computing he first designed and implemented a database combining, for the first time, clinical, laboratory, and administrative data that were routinely collected by the hospital’s computer systems. The database and its user interface were called ClinQuery. The major contribution of this system was to provide physicians with the ability to search clinical data themselves at any time of the day or night. Available on thousands of computer terminals deployed throughout Beth Israel Hospital, ClinQuery was used daily by clinicians and research workers to support patient care, clinical teaching, and medical research. This system provided essential data for numerous grant applications including the SUPPORT grant (PI Lee Goldman, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and for numerous articles in peer reviewed literature relating to health services research.

Dr. Safran also led the development of an Online Medical Record (OMR) to support care in a primary care environment.  This electronic health record was enhanced with support from AHCPR to provide alerts and reminders to improve the care of patients with HIV infection.  A randomized clinical trial of this system is currently being conducted.  Dr. Safran has 23 peer reviewed articles.