Program Director Letter

Welcome and thank you for your interest in our program. I am excited to share with you what we aim to teach our clinical informatics fellows at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville/Prisma Health. Firstly, a brief introduction to myself. I am a dually board-certified internal medicine and clinical informatics physician who practices clinically as a hospitalist. My informatics related work focuses on education, data and analytics, and workflow optimization. I became familiar with the specialty of clinical informatics as a resident and opted to pursue it as a career almost immediately. After completing my residency and chief year in Internal Medicine I went on to obtain a master’s degree in Health & Clinical Informatics from Oregon Health & Science University and completed a one-year non-accredited fellowship term at the University of Maryland School of Medicine before obtaining board certification. After my brief stint in Maryland I returned to Greenville, SC to pursue a career in clinical informatics. Outside of work I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my wife and three children pursuing all the wonderful activities Greenville offers! It is truly a wonderful city, and I won’t waste your time pushing that fact, but I encourage you to investigate what the internet and others say about this hidden gem of the Southeastern US.

 

Now about our program. The push to start this training program stemmed from the realization several years ago by the members of our faculty and myself that there is a vast gap in educational opportunities for physicians desiring to train in clinical informaticists within the Southeastern United States. Even those of us who had pursued fellowship or advanced educational activities ourselves did so in other regions of the country. We felt as though this needed to change and with tremendous support from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville and Prisma Health we collectively decided to pursue our own training program to narrow this gap. And after a few years of planning, preparation, and recruitment of faculty we are happy to introduce our two-year fully accredited clinical informatics program approved by ACGME in 2021. We aim to make our program a top ranked clinical informatics training site to prepare and educate the clinical informatics leaders of tomorrow. As a newer program we have retained the advantage of being nimble in our educational offerings and are able to customize training to guide learning in ways that emphasize the interests and clinical backgrounds of our fellows. The faculty and I have a diverse background in clinical informatics interests and expertise that will enable us to create a rich and dynamic learning environment for each fellow. We specialize in operational clinical informatics, the how to improve the day-to-day functions of clinical users and the patients in which they interact. This specialization encompasses EHR workflow optimization and technical build, data retrieval and analytics to inform and drive action, root cause analysis of technical issues, systems governance, change management, resource acquisition, and operational leadership.

 

Each fellow will participate in operational projects both in a longitudinal and block-form manner. Some projects will begin and end within a defined four-week block cycle as is typical of ACGME training programs. Larger projects may begin within a defined block but will then become longitudinal by the very nature and complexity of the work. Fellows will be expected to routinely juggle multiple projects as is routinely required of an informaticist. To support the need to quickly jump into projects fellows will early on receive advanced training in Epic to provide the necessary certification needed to perform actual EHR build. This build requirement will continue throughout the two-year term and will often be a part of the fellow’s assigned projects. Further, fellows will receive early training on Epic reporting and clinical data models with an emphasis on how to collect, transform, summarize, and visualize complex clinical data. This will include training on tools provided by Epic, but also in more transferrable SQL topics that would span EHRs and other databases you will encounter in your career. These initial educational focuses will mean that each fellow can take full advantage of the opportunities presented during the remainder of their two years. As this early, intense educational phase completes fellows will then be enrolled in a certificate program in clinical informatics through Oregon Health & Science University to provide a broader basis of foundational knowledge in the specialty of clinical informatics. This formal training program will be supplemented with routine journal club discussions, weekly conferences from informatics professionals and related specialists, and participation in a grand rounds series.

So, thank you again for your interest. I am committed to providing each fellow with an environment to learn, grow, and feel supported. If you have any questions about our program, please feel free to reach out at any time.