- A new health informatics division at the Yale School of Public Health (SPH) is slated to open in August to encourage students to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve EHR use, according to Yale News.
Students in the new division will have the opportunity to pursue a master’s in health informatics and apply a knowledge of data science to clinical medicine. The health informatics track will be part of the department of biostatistics at Yale.
“Yale is so strong in this area, with such remarkable experts, that we thought it was a real opportunity for Yale faculty with so much depth in this area to pass on their knowledge,” said Yale SPH Dean Sten Vermund. “We’re all believers of the service-education-research triad that anchors Yale’s mission. To not to have a more substantial educational opportunity for Yale students seemed a shame.”
Vermund anticipates clinicians, data scientists, and outcomes researchers including economists, social scientists, and health administrators will likely be drawn to the new division.
“My biggest priorities for the new division are to recruit a diverse, collaborative community of researchers with complementary expertise who share a passion for using informatics to address health challenges, to build the division’s research program and to train others in health informatics techniques through the new Health Informatics master’s program,” said Yale SPH Health Informatics Division Director Cynthia Brandt.
The course load for students in the health informatics division will center on data mining in public health, databases, and EHR systems.
“As our expertise and opportunities grow, the division will be an academic accelerator for important and innovative research,” said Vermund. “Improving the methods of medical informatics and improving the utility or results of informatics data would be a tremendous success for the division if we can really be something that increases the whole being greater than some of its parts.”
The university is currently hiring faculty to fill positions within the new division and develop the master’s program curriculum. The division has already been approved by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Health.
“Students will be equipped with the necessary computational and data-science knowledge, skills and tools to study any public health problem,” said Brandt.
Enabling healthcare professionals to gain a firm understanding of health informatics may help to improve the reliability and accuracy of EHR data and EHR use in the future.
“There is a growing need for health informatics for the School of Public Health and School of Medicine, both for people conducting research in this area and for training the next-generation scientists with this expertise,” said Department of Biostatistics Chair Hongyu Zhao. “This is largely the result of the rapid accumulation of large and diverse data, relevant for biomedical research.”
The American Medical Association (AMA) is also taking steps to bulk up education related to EHR data and use by promoting EHR use training in medical schools.
AMA first began promoting EHR use training in med schools in 2013 with the launch of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education (ACE) initiative. The initiative is designed to improve physician satisfaction with health IT and EHR technology through education.
AMA celebrated the first graduating class of its ACE consortium school in spring 2018. ACE graduates enter the medical field with extensive knowledge of effective EHR use, population health management, and social determinants of health.
AMA is also working to ensure changes made to medical school curricula ensure students have a seamless transition into residency.