Background: Residents are uniquely positioned to learn from and contribute to informatics. As key electronic health record (EHR) users, they offer practical solutions and feedback. Resident informatics engagement promotes EHR proficiency and accelerates implementation of best practices and quality improvement. Understanding how clinical data are structured creates a foundation for future scientific inquiry using clinical data. Thus, informatics training should be a part of all residency programs. While 34 approved programs exist nationwide for the formal training of clinical informatics fellows as of 2019, medical and surgical residents and fellows have few opportunities to gain experience in clinical informatics .
Purpose: At Rady Children’s, we developed a resident clinical informatics rotation with the goal of teaching pediatric residents informatics foundation knowledge and applicable EHR skills.
Description: A resident clinical informatics rotation was conceptualized and created in 2017 by a PGY-3 and the Chief Medical Information Officer. It was not standardized and resident awareness of the elective was minimal. In August 2020, the curriculum was redesigned to solidify informatics knowledge, promote longitudinal learning, and encourage real-world applications. Five physician informaticists (2 full and 3 assistant professors) comprise the faculty. Two-week and 4-week elective blocks are available. Each resident receives a customized rotation schedule and a 1-on-1 experience with all faculty. Residents may pursue EPIC® (Verona, Wisconsin) power user classes or physician builder courses for additional skill training. The 2-week rotation includes understanding the role of informatics in health care, EHR structure, data literacy, care/workflow improvements, and patient engagement. To date, 13 residents have completed the rotation with persistent increase in number of residents signed up for the elective each year since 2017. Informatics projects selected included resident medical education, division-specific initiatives, documentation improvement, regulatory compliance, organization initiatives, including COVID-19 efforts, and operating plan goal. Two residents completed EPIC physician builder certification. Abstract and manuscript publications were also outcomes of this rotation. A hundred percent of resident feedbacks reported that they “would recommend that other residents do this elective” and that “this rotation [was] a worthwhile experience”.
Conclusions: There is increasing interest in clinical informatics training among residents and they report that this elective is valuable. Due to the life cycle of informatics project and training, a longitudinal curriculum model is more effective in educating our residents and could be applied to other trainees (medical students/fellows) in the future.