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Stanford Clinical Informatics Fellowship First to Receive Accreditation

August 5, 2014
by David Raths
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Starting in 2018, certification will require completing a fellowship
Stanford's Christopher Longhurst, M.D., M.S.

A clinical informatics fellowship program launched at Stanford Medicine is the first to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Physicians who complete the fellowship program can be certified in the subspecialty, which became a recognized subspecialty in 2011 and granted its first board certifications in 2013. 

Beginning in 2018, the American Board of Medical Specialties will require physicians to complete a council-accredited fellowship to be eligible for certification in clinical informatics. (The council is a nonprofit, private council that evaluates and accredits medical residency and fellowship programs.)

Several other universities strong in healthcare informatics, such as the Mayo Clinic’s School of Graduate Medical Education and Oregon Health & Science University, have created fellowship programs. According to its web site, OHSU has applied for ACGME accreditation and plans to recruit one to two fellows for the 2015 academic year.

“This accreditation recognizes that our program meets the new national standards in the field of clinical informatics,” said Christopher Longhurst, M.D., M.S., fellowship director, chief medical information officer for Stanford Children’s Health and clinical associate professor of pediatrics and of medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine, in a prepared statement. “We are the first because of our long history of biomedical informatics, our breadth of experience and our program’s high level of collaboration among physicians and researchers in numerous specialties,” added Longhurst, who is a member of Healthcare Informatics’ editorial advisory board.

Four positions are available in the two-year fellowship program, which received accreditation on July 15. The first two fellows for 2014-16 are Lance Downing, M.D., an internal medicine specialist, and pediatrician Veena Goel, M.D. Downing is helping Christopher Sharp, M.D., chief medical information officer for Stanford Health Care, and others to develop a program to identify early signs of severe sepsis; Goel is helping Paul Sharek, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of quality management and associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine, to develop new tools and processes to mitigate “bedside-alarm” fatigue.

Fellows will divide their time between informatics projects, coursework and clinical practice in their primary specialty. The Department of Information Services at Stanford Children’s Health will be the primary training site, with rotations offered at Stanford Health Care, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and HP Labs.

 “This fellowship represents the formal recognition of a major change in medicine, one that merges best-practice clinical training with advanced information technology and analytical expertise,” said Ed Kopetsky, chief information officer at Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, in a prepared statement. “Clinicians with a strong knowledge of clinical informatics and analytics will not only play a key role in optimizing workflow, but will help us understand more about disease and optimal care methods. In the end, this means better health-care decisions.”

The Stanford Medicine team spent more than 100 hours developing the application for council accreditation. The team decided to make the final version available to other institutions interested in accreditation. More than 20 academic medical centers have downloaded the material, according to Stanford.

For more information on the fellowship at Stanford Medicine, please see

In June, Prof. William Hersh, M.D., chair of the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at OHSU, wrote a blog with valuable updated information about eligibility for the clinical informatics subspecialty.


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