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Medical Informatics

Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP
Director, Education and Career Development

Changes in the practice environment, require physicians to rethink traditional ways of accessing, managing, and reporting information. Managed care and other accrediting organizations require physician and patient encounter data to measure quality, credential physicians, and license providers. Billing and payment systems are increasingly sophisticated. Many insurers and third party payers require physician practices to submit bills electronically. And, for physicians to manage capitated contracts, they must have a way to identify costs associated with providing patient services. For all these reasons, it is important for physicians to become familiar with the basics of informatics.

Medical Informatics Resources

There are a multitude of resources physicians can access to learn more about medical informatics. The American College of Physicians sponsors several day-long courses on a variety of medical informatics topics each year in conjunction with its annual scientific meeting, the Annual Session. These sessions emphasize hands-on learning with experts from the medical informatics field. The ACP Web site is also a good source for the latest in computer technology. Other sources to consult on specific informatics topics include:

Organizations and Associations:

American Medical Informatics Association
4915 St. Elmo Avenue Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20814
Telephone: 301/657-1291
Fax: 301/657-1296
Internet address: http://www.amia.org

This nonprofit organization is "dedicated to the development and application of medical informatics in the support of patient care, research, and health care administration. AMIA serves as an authoritative body in the field of medical informatics and represents the United States in the informational arena of medical systems and informatics in international forums." Visitors to AMIA's Internet site are allowed to see abstracts of articles appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), but in order to have access to articles in full-text, readers must contact the publisher of JAMIA, Hanley & Belfus, Inc. (210 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107; telephone: 215/546-7293, 215/546-4995 or 1-800-962-1892 (U.S. only); fax: 215/790-9330), for subscription information.

Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT )
Internet address: www.cchit.org

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology or CCHIT is a recognized certification body (RCB) for electronic health records and their networks, and an independent, voluntary, private-sector initiative. It is our mission to accelerate the adoption of health information technology by creating an efficient, credible and sustainable certification program.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
230 East Ohio
Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60611-3269
Telephone: 312/664-HIMSS
Fax: 312/664-6143
Internet address: http://www.himss.org/templates/index.asp

"The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) ... is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of health care information and management systems."

Medical Group Management Association
104 Inverness Terrace East
Englewood, CO 80112-5306
Telephone: 888-608-5601; 303/799-1111
Fax: 303-643-4439 Fax-on-demand: 800-329-4633
Internet address: http://www.mgma.com

This is an organization whose mission is "to advance the art and science of medical group practice management to improve the health of our communities." MGMA publishes a special information technology supplement to its journal each year. Included is a comprehensive list of software vendors in the medical practice field.

The Medical Records Institute
567 Walnut Street
P. 0. Box 600770
Newton, MA 02460
Telephone: 617/964-3923
Fax: 617/964-3926
Internet address: http://www.medrecinst.com

The Medical Records Institute is an organization promoting the us of the electronic patient record. This organization "believes that electronic health records will be the nucleus of the emerging healthcare information infrastructure." The Medical Records Institute also publishes a journal, called Toward an Electronic Patient Record (TEPR).

National Association of Health Data Organizations
254-B N. Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046-4517
Telephone: 703/532-3282
Fax: 703/532-3593
Internet address: http://www.nahdo.org

"The National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO) is a national, not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to improving health care through the collection, analysis, dissemination, public availability, and use of health data."

Workgroup for Electronic Data Exchange
12020 Sunrise Valley Drive Suite 100
Reston, VA 20191
Telephone: 703/391-2716
Fax: 703/391-2759
Internet address: http://wedi.org

"The Workgroup for Electronic Data Exchange (WEDI) is a broad coalition of organizations within the health care industry which are engaged in or supportive of the delivery, receipt and processing of electronic health care transactions."

Journals and Newsletters:

Healthcare Informatics Online
Internet address: http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/

Healthcare Informatics Online is an online journal dedicated to "information technology for the executives and managers on the IT decision-making team in healthcare facilities and organizations of every type." Most of the information is available on the Internet, but the journal is also available in print. For more information, contact Healthcare Informatics: 45 3 0 West 77th Street, Suite 350, Minneapolis, MN 55435, telephone: 612/835-3222, fax: 612/832-7917.

Medical Computing Today
Found on the Internet: http://www.medicalcomputingtoday.com

"Medical Computing Today is designed for physicians and other health professionals as an online repository of computing and technology information." Published by Healthcare Computing Publication, Inc., it includes information on Medical Informatics.

Topics in Health Information Management
Aspen Publishers, Inc.
For ordering information, call 1-800-638-8437 (in U.S.), or 301/417-7500 (outside U.S.), or fax 301/417-7650.

Publisher's description: "Each quarterly issue is packed with articles and commentary on topics such as legal issues, continuous quality improvement, computer-based patient records systems, information resource management, health care quality assessments, new technology platforms, [and] productivity and efficiency."


Electronic Health Records, 2nd Edition
Editor Jerome Carter
Published by ACP Press
2008, $64.95
Phone orders: Call ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600
Order online

Publisher's Description: A leading resource in evaluating, purchasing, implementing, and using an electronic health records system (EHR), this fully revised new edition continues to help even the most technology challenged reader master key concepts. Electronic Health Records, Second Edition is a user-friendly guide, presenting information in a clear and precise manner and providing readers with a solid understanding of what electronic health records are and do.

The Computer-Based Patient Record. An Essential Technology for Health Care. (Revised Edition.)
Editors Richard S. Dick, Elaine B. Steen, and Don E. Detmer.
Published by National Academy Press.
1997, $34.95 (in U. S.), $42.00 (outside U. S.).
Publisher telephone number: 1-800-624-6242; 202/334-3313

Publisher's description: "In its first edition, this book presented a blueprint for introducing the computer-based patient record (CPR). The revised edition adds new information to the original book."

Electronic Medical Record Infrastructure: An Overview of Critical Standards & Classifications.
By Christopher G. Chute.
Published by Springer-Verlag.
1997, 320 pages, $49.00.
Publisher telephone number: 1~800-777-4643.

Health Care Software Sourcebook, 1998.
Published by Aspen Publishers, Inc.
1998, 510 pages, $89.00 (in U. S.), $98.00 (outside U. S.).
Publisher telephone number: 1-800-638-8437.

Publisher description: "Expanded and updated annually, the Health Care Software Sourcebook includes over 1100 software products and 1300 vendors ... Information for each product includes hardware requirements; memory and disk space needs; operating system and language; optional equipment; training, maintenance, and technical support information; prices; installation history; and a brief description. Vendor contact information is included, providing a comprehensive tool for the first step in evaluating and selecting health care software systems."

Health Information Management. Medical Record Processes in Group Practice
by Lynn Kuehn.
Published by MGMA.
1997, 166 pages, $39.00.
Publisher telephone number: 1-888-608-5602.

Publisher's description: "Key topics include record systems, storage/retrieval, coding, transcription, computerization, human resources and legal issues. JCAHO and AAAHC requirements are addressed.

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