• Faces of AMIA

    Jeffrey Nielson, MD, MS, FACEP

    AMIA is a great place to find ideas and to help me stay true to the science as I apply it.

Jeffrey Nielson, MD, MS, FACEP

Current Affiliation: Director of Informatics, Academic and Community Emergency Specialists, Akron, Ohio
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, Ohio

Education: MS, Medical Informatics, University of Utah, School of Medicine
MD, University of Utah, School of Medicine
Emergency Medicine Residency, Akron City Hospital, Northeast Ohio Medical University

Biography and photograph when elected: 

How do I describe my work to those outside the field ...

I like to tell people that I’m trying to make health software easier for physicians to use and safer for the patients. It’s mostly really detailed work in trying to make it fit their work flows and incorporate quality measures and other decision support.

Years of experience:

About 10 years.

Why Informatics?

When I was in medical school I had a close friend who had just finished his Master’s degree in medical informatics before medical school, and he kept telling me that I would really like the field, but I was really resistant. I told him that I just wanted to do technology for technology’s sake and then health care on the side. I didn’t want to mix them. But he kept on giving me a taste here and there and eventually I bought into it. And I just fell in love with the field. We were part of a medical student informatics group at the University of Utah that would prepare computers for students and we set up a website to help with education and from there, the school gave grants to help students do informatics projects and I was able to make software, patient simulation software, and I just got really excited about it. And I’m still excited about it.

What are your ambitions? At the end of your career, what do you hope to have accomplished?

It’s a long way off. Right now, my goals are more along the lines of trying to give more structure and formality to our clinical informatics subspecialty in medicine. I’d really like to look back and feel that I contributed meaningfully to that. We’re making good progress in that area and I’m excited about that. I still do about 75 percent clinical work. I see patients. I feel good about that. I like that being part of my practice. I still feel that that is one of my great successes and I enjoy it. I want to feel that I made the EHR less burdensome and made it more …I just want to improve the EHR for physicians.  We spend more time in front of the computer than we do in front of the patient. We spend a lot of time on the phone talking to consultants. That is all time taken away from patient care. We need to fix that somehow. The toughest part is finding ways that affect the work flow and trying to make it so that the doctors can do their work quickly and also effectively.

Who or what are your “key sources” in the informatics field?

I’m not part of a big informatics program. I get my news through AMIA’s emails and I really appreciate the JAMIA advanced articles that come to my inbox. I really enjoy the webinars like the JAMIA Journal Club. And then one of my favorite places in the world is the AMIA poster session every year at the Annual Symposium because that’s where people are talking about all the ways they want to improve health care and try to improve clinical decision support.

Hobbies/Interests outside AMIA ...

I love ceramics. I love making handmade and wheel thrown ceramics. I have a little studio at my house. It is a nice escape. I started when I was about 12. I was throwing pieces on the potter’s wheel and I just fell in love. There’s something about molding the clay into something useful.

AMIA is important to me because ...

AMIA is my professional home. It’s the home of academic informatics. Since I do mostly applied informatics, I find it’s a great place to find ideas and to help me stay true to the science as I apply it.

I am involved with AMIA ...

Right now I’m the chair of the MOC committee, the Maintenance of Certification committee, which helps formalize the educational products for clinical informatics for physicians. I’ve been coming to meetings for over 10 years and have always enjoyed presenting my ideas and hearing others.

It may surprise people to know ...

I ran an online radio station for two years (in the early 2000s) until the FCC decided that we had to pay per listener. I had to shut down or pay up. That was the end of CakeMusic.org.