Clinical Informatics | About Clinical Informatics

Clinical Informatics

Clinical Informatics (CI) is concerned with information use in health care by clinicians. CI is the application of informatics and information technology to improve healthcare delivery, including the application of clinical decision support to visual images (e.g. radiological, pathological, dermatological, ophthalmological, etc); from clinical documentation to provider order entry systems; and from systems design to systems implementation as well as organizational and technology adoption issues.

Today, physicians in are now eligible to become Board Certified in Clinical Informatics through an exam offered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.


History of Clinical Informatics Subspecialty

  • 2005 - AMIA concluded that demand was growing among physicians for formal training and certification in clinical informatics.
  • 2007 - AMIA launched an 18-month process to define the core content of the subspecialty of clinical informatics and the training requirements for proposed clinical informatics fellowships, with financial support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • 2008 - AMIA Board approves Core Content for CI subspecialty
  • 2009 - The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) agreed to sponsor the application for a new subspecialty examination
  • 2010 - ABPM submitted a formal application to American Board of Medical Specialty (ABM) to create the subspecialty certification
  • 2011 - After an extensive review by the ABMS specialty boards and the ABMS Committee on Certification (COCERT), the proposal was approved by the ABMS Board in a vote on September 21, 2011.
  • 2013 - AMIA sponsors inaugural board certification review courses in anticipation of the first board certification exam in October 2013.

The Clinical Informatics Subspecialty

Physicians who practice clinical informatics (increasingly known as informaticians, or informaticists) collaborate with other health care and information technology professionals to promote patient care that is safe, efficient, effective, timely, patient-centered, and equitable. Clinical informaticians transform health care by analyzing, designing, implementing, and valuating information and communication systems that enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.

Clinical informaticians use their knowledge of patient care combined with their understanding of informatics concepts, methods, and tools to:
  • assess information and knowledge needs of health care 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.

Suggested readings:

  • Defining the Medical Subspecialty of Clinical Informatics. Don E Detmer, John R Lumpkin, Jeffrey J Williamson. JAMIA 2009;16:167-168
  • AMIA Board White Paper: Core Content for the Subspecialty of Clinical Informatics. Reed M Gardner, J Marc Overhage, Elaine B Steen, Benson S Munger, John H Holmes, Jeffrey J Williamson, Don E Detmer, for the AMIA Board of Directors. JAMIA 2009;16:153-157
  • AMIA Board White Paper: Program Requirements for Fellowship Education in the Subspecialty of Clinical Informatics. Charles Safran, M Michael Shabot, Benson S Munger, John H Holmes,Elaine B Steen, John R Lumpkin, Don E Detmer, for the AMIA Board of Directors. JAMIA2009;16:158-166