In response to the increasingly critical role of health care information technologies in the evolving health care delivery system, Duke Medicine has created the Duke Center for Health Informatics (DCHI) to provide a campus focus for health informatics. DCHI will oversee an innovative interdisciplinary approach to education that will produce a new generation of physicians, nurses, and health care administrators with an expertise in the use of informatics to improve human health.
The DCHI is a collaboration among the nationally recognized Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing and the Fuqua School of Business and will reflect a synergy resulting from the various areas of informatics excellence across the three schools.W. Ed Hammond, PhD, one of the world’s pioneers in health care information technology, has been named the director of the DCHI.; “There is little question that succeeding following health care reform will require health care professionals and executives to have an understanding of health informatics and how informatics can be applied using specific tools and capabilities,” said Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs at Duke and CEO, Duke University Health System. “I believe the DCHI will play a significant role in advancing the pragmatic application of informatics in many health care settings.”
DCHI will have a strong focus on the outcome of improving human health, a tight integration between health system operations and research programs, and a distinctly interdisciplinary curriculum and training environment. The program will, in all of its components, emphasize the use of information and information systems to improve human health. Educational offerings are being planned and reviewed across the campus to advance this new center’s academic mission. “Bringing these strong resources of Duke University together with an emphasis on applied health informatics is a unique vision, and one that will help meet the national demand for trained informaticists to guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of health IT for the betterment of human health,” said Asif Ahmad, vice president, diagnostic services, Duke University Health System, and chief information officer for DUHS and Duke University Medical Center.; “Students at Duke will be able to use the Duke Health Technologies & Systems as a ‘living lab’ in which to learn how to deploy and analyze these tools and technologies.”
The DCHI will be administratively housed in the Duke Translational Medicine Institute led by Robert Califf, MD, vice chancellor for clinical research and director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute. “The interdisciplinary nature of the Center and strong connection with the Translational Medicine Institute and the health system is a distinct statement of our commitment to leveraging health informatics to improve human health,” said Califf.
Over the past forty years, DCHI’s Hammond has held virtually every leadership position of significance in the world of health information technologies, and is widely recognized as having made seminal contributions to the field. He is a past president of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the American College of Medical Informatics. He served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Patient Safety Data Standards, served on several National Institutes of Health review committees, and has published over 300 technical articles. The DCHI will bring together more than 50 Duke faculty and its initiation will be supported by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).