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Title A Medical Informatics Curriculum for Pediatric House Officers
Author(s) R. G. Duncan and L. T. Miller
Source Pediatrics (Supplement), Vol. 102, No. 3, Pages 690-690
Publication Date Sept. 1998
Abstract Background: Despite the explosion of the Internet and World Wide Web and the rapid penetration of information technologies into patient care environments, most pediatric residency training programs do not have any formal curriculum or rotation in medical informatics or orientation to hospital information systems.

Methods: Our goal was to design a four-week rotation that would introduce pediatric house officers to fundamental concepts of medical informatics, the architecture and operation of hospital information systems, and basic strategies for medical resource discovery on the Internet and World Wide Web. We reviewed the recent medical informatics literature and created a course outline consisting of 18 topic areas. We then examined bibliographies and performed MedLine searches to create a reading list of classic and recent research papers for each topic area, with special emphasis on computer applications in pediatrics and neonatology. The papers were photocopied and gathered into a syllabus for ready reference by faculty and housestaff. A rotation schedule was designed in collaboration with the pediatric resident education division that divides the house officer's time between readings from the syllabus, one-on-one discussions of selected topics, hands-on use of computers, participation in pediatric department teaching conferences, and attendance at various project team and administrative meetings within the hospital's information systems department. Mutual expectations are defined by a curriculum document that is given to, and discussed with, the house officer at the beginning of the rotation. At the end of the rotation, the house officer is evaluated by the faculty supervisor using a standardized form, and the house officer in turn fills out a course evaluation form that is returned to the director of resident education.

Results: The informatics rotation is currently offered to CSMC pediatric house officers as an elective. Over the last three academic years, eight third-year pediatric house officers have taken the elective, with the number increasing each year, and two fourth-year medical students have enrolled in a slightly modified version of the elective. The curriculum has been modified and updated several times with the benefit of feedback by house officers and other pediatric faculty. The full curriculum document will be made available at the AAP meeting.

Conclusion: A dedicated rotation provides pediatric house officers with a broad exposure to medical informatics concepts, specialized research literature, and hospital information systems that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to acquire. It also allows them protected time to become familiar with Internet medical resources and resource discovery tools that will serve them well in general pediatric practice.

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