Our two-year curriculum follows an orchestrated sequence of rotations designed to lay a solid foundation for learning and success in clinical informatics, leveraging the best that both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital can offer, while at the same time exposing our fellows to the unique governance, operations and culture of both institutions.
An initial rotation in Information Privacy and Security teaches the legal and regulatory framework in which clinical informatics and all of health IT operates. During this time, fellows travel to Epic Systems Inc. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, for coursework leading to certification as an Epic Physician Builder. From there, they join our ambulatory and hospital electronic health record data (her) teams for three months to work on system enhancements, maintenance and new projects. Then it’s off to join our clinical and business reporting teams for three more months to learn all about data warehousing, reporting and analytics. Once our fellows have a deep understanding of how the EHR operates, how data flows into the system, and how it can be retrieved and visualized, the fellows spend the next four months with our EHR clinical informatics team working on how to use the system and the data to support clinical decision-making, improve patient care quality and safety, and enhance population health.
The second year of the fellowship continues with a broader exposure to population health at the organization level and how systems and institutions exchange health information. From there, they embark on a tour through various informatics domains—research, pathology, radiology and pharmacy—before beginning their own explorations over six months of elective opportunities. Electives can be varied and are designed to match the interests of each fellow in terms of content, experiences and length. Examples of elective opportunities include:
- Telehealth, mobile and web applications
- Health finance and revenue cycle applications
- Advanced analytics, predictive modeling and data science
- Computer programming and web design
- User experience and user interface design
- Quality improvement and patient safety
- Project and change management
- End-user training and support
Across the entire two years, fellows and faculty alike partake in weekly didactics, consisting of a combination of faculty- and fellow-led presentations, a robust journal club, and fun and interactive board review question-and answer-sessions. Fellows will also complete three graduate-level courses through The Ohio State University Department of Biomedical Informatics to further expand their understanding of the basic science and methods underpinning the discipline. These courses can also be taken for credit as part of a certificate, MS or MPH program if desired.
Our fellows work alongside a very talented group of EHR builders at both Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Within the first two months, they travel to Epic Systems headquarters in Wisconsin for a week of in-depth training and certification as Epic Physician Builders. During that week, they also have an opportunity to meet Clinical Informatics fellows from other programs and begin to establish their peer-to-peer network—a vital component of any successful informatics career.
Quality improvement (QI) sits at the core of much of we do in clinical informatics. As national leaders in quality improvement, both Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital bring outstanding resources to our program. Our fellows will learn about a variety of QI methodologies, with particular emphasis on the IHI PDSA method, explained by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle for testing a change by planning it, trying it, observing the results, and acting on what is learned. In addition to regular exposure to the tools and methods of QI in their rotations and didactics, our fellows take dedicated QI coursework—forming a QI team and tackling a specific project from conception through multiple PDSA cycles, ultimately presenting their work to hospital leadership, and often national audiences.
We strongly believe that our fellows need to continue providing high-quality patient care concurrent with their training in clinical informatics. At the same time, we recognize our fellows are already well-trained to practice in their primary specialty. For these reasons, we require our fellows to provide direct patient care at either Ohio State Wexner Medical Center or Nationwide Children’s Hospital during the two-year period, with an average of four hours per week (200 hours per year) in addition to their clinical informatics curriculum. However, if qualified and appropriately credentialed, they are permitted to separately contract in their primary specialty and receive appropriate compensation for their level of training and experience (i.e., as independently practicing attending physicians).
Clinical Informatics is a field built on teaching and learning from others—sharing best practices, discovering new approaches and methods, and fostering a sense of community. Nothing exemplifies this more than national meetings and symposia where faculty and fellows alike gather to share experiences, success stories and new research findings. Each year, our fellows attend the American Medical Informatics Association Clinical Informatics Conference, which includes the daylong annual Clinical Informatics fellows retreat. In addition, fellows in their second year attend Epic’s annual Users Group Meeting. Other regional, national and even international conferences are available for our fellows to attend on a case-by-case basis.
Diversity is central to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s mission. We recognize diversity as relating to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability. We believe a diverse culture optimizes our ability to provide truly personalized, innovative and evidence-based health care. A diverse learning environment also enhances educational outcomes for our residents, fellows, other health care professionals, researchers and patients.