At UF Health, the future of quality patient care lies in health informatics.
The future of quality patient care lies in health informatics — a multidisciplinary, integrative field that applies principles of computer, cognitive, social and information science.
Efficient and effective information management and informatics require a collection-to-action team effort. Data must be collected carefully, with the ability to identify discrete data points that are clinically important for effective extraction and analysis, all without overburdening the users.
Collaboration must exist between the users who input the information, information technology staff who create informatics solutions and the numerous end users of the data. The third group comprises faculty and staff such as Administration and the Quality department, along with University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville personnel involved with teaching and research.
Keeping the flow of this data organized and easily available requires significant governance. The necessity of such governance was difficult to foresee, as the role of informatics exploded logarithmically over the past decade and the data on our campus became siloed — functionally and along college and hospital lines.
Additionally, the Jacksonville and Gainesville campuses began operating more separately. At UF Health Jacksonville, we addressed this with the Quadruple Initiative in 2015. We believed four areas of improved interfacing were key to success. Two of the areas each featured a committee co-chaired by one UF leader and one hospital leader. Also, a renewal of collaborations with Gainesville was forged once the foundation of these prongs was established. Following is information about the four areas:
- New Projects Steering Committee: The user-IT interface is essential to collecting data in a meaningful and clinically unobtrusive manner. A single website for the user to request new functionality exists in our electronic health record, which includes Epic and other systems such as PACS and MUSE. This intake website has now reached its third evolution and is part of a UF Health-wide solution. Kudos to Heather Eastridge, who drove the evolutions, and Terri Schnoering for leading the charge.
- Data Analytics and Reporting Committee: This is tied to the IT end user relationship that is key to distributing effective, usable and actionable data. We sought to have a single website from which a user requests new reports. Onus shifted to this committee to determine who will write the report, instead of the user searching for the correct reporter. Carolyn Cordek has driven this, with significant input from co-chair Chris Catalano.
- Research: Though not part of a newly formed group, research personnel work with the two committees to ensure we collect data appropriately and embark on projects that are likely to be fruitful.
- Training: We will work with the hospital’s Training and Development department to assist with analysis and minor build by pushing some of the more rote topics into online training modules and sending the trainers for certification in their specialties. This allows trainers to serve as true liaisons between the users and IT.
All areas are thriving except research collaborations. We had trouble obtaining the resources necessary to optimize that area. However, we hope to engage Alexander Parker, Ph.D., the new senior associate dean for research, to help us further organize and jumpstart research on campus.
We have continually expanded our monthly projects steering meeting, which originally addressed barriers to project progress for the hospital only. Now, it includes the college. Our collaborations are deepening as we move toward actively testing and upgrading our informatics solutions to strive for preeminence and improve our national rankings.
This past year, L. Kendall Webb, M.D., FACEP, assistant dean for clinical informatics at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, became one of fewer than 2,000 physicians to be board-certified in clinical informatics and is among the inaugural class of the Fellows of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Webb now plans to introduce a clinical informatics fellowship at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Over the next two years, she will assist UF faculty in Jacksonville and Gainesville in becoming board-certified in clinical informatics using a practice pathway. Her vision is for the fellowship program to start in July 2020, with accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.