Clinical informatics subspecialty launched at UCSF

December 18, 2013

A new specialty in Clinical Informatics has been launched at UC San Francisco, addressing the growing need to harness the power of massive quantities of patient information in the era of precision medicine and health care reform.

This new board certification is designed to educate doctors on how to collect, synthesize and present data to deliver patient care more safely and effectively.

The select group of pioneering physicians who will receive the first national board certification in Clinical Informatics includes Pediatric Hospitalist Seth Bokser, MD, medical director for information technology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. Awarded by the American Board of Preventive Medicine, the certification recognizes the increasingly vital role that the science and practice of informatics plays in health care.

Clinical Informatics was recognized as a medical subspecialty in 2011 by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and is the first new board-certified medical specialty in twenty years.

"Health care is an information-management business," said Bokser. "It has always been, but we have finally reached a new era where we are harnessing the power of IT to take in, organize, retrieve, analyze, reason, and report on the data for individual patients and populations."

In the last decade there has been an advancement of electronic health records and the explosive use of mobile health technologies tracking everything from sleep and heart rate to temperature. With it comes a flood of patient data that needs to be managed, analyzed and optimized. And in the wake of health care reform, there is a greater emphasis on using patient data to support clinical decisions and justify payment and cost savings.

"As physicians who focus on clinical informatics, we leverage our know-how of medicine, data systems, and analytics to partner with our colleagues and patients to be able to make better informed health decisions," said Bokser. "We also want to design systems that enable innovators and our incredible research community to use more voluminous, and better quality, real-world clinical data than ever before."

Board Certification in Clinical Informatics is awarded based on practical and examination-based mastery of the science of informatics. Clinical informatics specialists have proven proficiency in clinical decision science, application of artificial-intelligence-based decision support, programming fundamentals, data and database structures, IT infrastructure and risk mitigation for health care, standards for data exchange and representation, privacy, and security.

Additionally, the Clinical Informatics specialty curriculum includes well-developed skills in quality improvement methodology, negotiation, organizational leadership, and change management.

Bokser and his 400-plus pioneering colleagues across the United States will receive the official board certificate in January 2014.

Clinical Informatics is a new specialty focus for UCSF physicians, and comes at the heels of the creation of UCSF's Center for Digital Health Innovation, led by Michael Blum, MD, the associate vice chancellor for informatics. The focus of the CDHI is developing new technologies, apps, and systems that will generate enormous new data sets to accelerate the advancement of precision medicine.

The emerging field of precision medicine aims to harness the vast advances in technology, genetics and biomedical research to better understand the roots of disease so that prevention, diagnosis and treatment can be precisely tailored to individuals.

"UCSF has fully embraced information technology and the revolution in health care that it supports. We are getting more mobile, more social, more connected with our community and our patients, there is no doubt," said Bokser. "In less than a decade at UCSF, we have transitioned from paper and file-cabinet-based health care. We are not only part of the 21st Century, but UCSF is now leading health IT boldly into the next generation--from small data medicine to big data health care."
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital. For more information, visit

University of California - San Francisco

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to