Task force creates framework to define skills, education for clinical informatics execs

Required education and skills for chief clinical informatics officer roles (CCIO) is necessary for "a dynamic, motivated workforce," according to a report from an American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) task force.

Currently, the report's authors say, a lack of such defined characteristics for chief medical informatics officer, chief nursing informatics officers, chief pharmacy informatics officers and chief dental informatics officers is complicating "the professional development of those aspiring to these types of roles."

"AMIA is offering these guidelines to help advise C-suite executives on potential staff selection criteria for CCIOs, as well as inform informatics professionals broadly on the state of the field," according to Joseph L. Kannry, M.D., head of the task force and lead Technical Informaticist-EMR Project at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

The increase and need for CCIOs in healthcare has primarily because of the Meaningful Use program and the rapid adoption of electronic health records, according to the report's authors. MU requirements mean clinicians must interact more directly with clinical information systems and providers must address clinician reluctance when it comes to using such systems--that's where the CCIO steps in. However, now that a majority of providers have EHRs implemented, healthcare organizations tend to be unclear about the role of the CMIO.  

Some of the basic requirements for a CCIO, according to the report, include:

  • An understanding of the science of informatics, the healthcare domain and clinical care processes
  • A CCIO must first become educated in a clinical specialty to better understand care processes and how health IT is used by clinicians
  • Leadership knowledge including interpersonal skills, persistence and work ethic
  • They need knowledge of new innovations, and must determine strategies for incorporating new tools into organizational strategic plans
  • For informatics trainee education, CCIOs should take part in interdisciplinary work and must have multi-cultural fluency
  • An understanding of universal clinical informatics and clinical decision support principles

AMIA also is creating a multidisciplinary certification process to assure standardization and to support the role of non-clinicians as CCIOs, according to the report.

"Formally educated and trained CCIOs will provide a competitive advantage to their respective enterprise by fully utilizing the power of Informatics science," the authors write.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- download the report (.pdf)