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Live From AMIA: Top 10 Informatics Events of the Year

November 19, 2013
by David Raths
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SNOMED-LOINC linkage, EHR adoption increases make the list

One of the most anticipated talks at AMIA each year is the Top 10 Informatics Events of the Year presented by Daniel Masys, M.D., an affiliate professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of Washington. (Masys retired as professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2011.)

Masys first highlighted some of the leading informatics research studies published this year, in the areas of clinical decision support, telemedicine, and personal health and genomics. He then presented the Top 10 list in Dave Letterman style, from 10 to 1, in ascending order of significance. He compiled the list with help from contributors to the American College of Medical Informatics discussion boards. Without further ado, here is a summary of Dr. Masys’ Tuesday morning presentation.

10. A Jan. 17, 2013, New York Times article headlined “Search of DNA Sequences Reveals Full Identities.” The article, reporting on a research paper, was a case of sensationalism in the headline, Masys said. And even though the Times later changed the headline on the web, he called the initial research “the most misinterpreted paper of the year.”

9. SNOMED CT and LOINC will be linked by cooperative work. The International Health Terminology Standards Organization and Regenstrief Institute Inc. signed a long-term agreement to begin cooperative work linking their leading global health care terminologies: The agreement should help improve safety, functionality and interoperability for the growing number of clinicians who manage and exchange health data with electronic medical records.

8. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that human genes cannot be patented. Masys called this a welcome decision because the United States had been an outlier internationally in terms of assigning intellectual property rights to naturally occurring material.

7. NIH funds a consortium of research groups to develop a Clinical Genome Resource.

6.  The Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a federal memo on data sharing. The White House has told federal agencies that research data needs to be shared. This is leading to revisions to NIH policy about linking citations to data that support them.

5. U.S. hospital EHR adoption is close to 70 percent thanks to meaningful use. “We have passed the tipping point,” Masys said.

4. The California state appellate court ruled that providers do not automatically have liability to patients for medical data breach unless they are accessed by a third party.

3. In October, the American Board of Preventive Medicine gave the first clinical informatics subspecialty exam.

2. Morrie Collen, one of the pioneers of health information technology in the 1960s at Kaiser, recently turned 100 years old. (HCI is lining up an interview with Collen. Watch for it in the next few weeks.)

And the No. 1 healthcare informatics story of the year is: inadvertently shows the societal power of the web. Masys showed a series of cartoons poking fun at the “object of the scorn of the nation,” including one showing the cast of the Dilbert cartoons as the contractors.