KANSAS CITY, Kan. � The University of Kansas Medical Center announces the formation of a new Center for Healthcare Informatics at the KUMC, Kansas City, Kan., campus.
�This will be an interdisciplinary center of excellence in keeping with the concept for all KUMC Centers,� said Donald F. Hagen, MD, KUMC executive vice chancellor. Helen Connors, RN, PhD, FAAN, associate dean of academic affairs at the KU School of Nursing, will serve as executive director.
�The KU School of Nursing, with the help of a local business partner, Cerner Corporation, has experienced great success in educating nursing students on the use of healthcare informatics,� Hagen said. �I am proud to have Dr. Connors leading KUMC in these efforts, as we provide students with the latest in health care education and lead the way for other educational institutions across the country to do the same.�
All KUMC schools, the KU School of Nursing, KU School of Allied Health, KU School of Medicine, KU School of Pharmacy and KUMC Graduate Studies will be served. In addition, the Center will interact with KU-Lawrence activities. Funding to support the infrastructure for the Center comes from the KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor�s Office.
The mission of the Center is to advance healthcare informatics at KUMC through knowledge, integration, research and empowerment of faculty and students in this expanding field of biomedical science. Healthcare informatics is defined generally as understanding the meaning, relationships and properties of health care information as a basis for biomedical knowledge discovery, information retrieval, storage and dissemination for purposes supporting the process and evaluation of health care of the public.
KUMC students and faculty will be increasingly responsible for knowledge of healthcare informatics and use of all available and future information systems in clinical practice.
�The creation of the Center reflects KUMC�s quest for meeting a recent call to action put forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM),� said Karen L. Miller, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean of the KU Schools of Nursing and Allied Health. A July 2003 report stated that academic health centers, such as KUMC, have a key role in leading the change in the way health care professionals are educated. �The end result will be better trained health care providers giving a higher quality of care to patients. Our graduates also will have the ability to customize care for a patient�s particular need,� Miller said.
�While the use of IT in a health care setting, such as a hospital, is not new, the use of IT in the education of health care professionals is still not widely used,� Miller continued. Through a collaborative project with the KU School of Nursing and Cerner Corporation, an educational curriculum called Simulated E-hEalth Delivery System (SEEDS), was developed. Within the next year, the SEEDS approach to the curriculum will be rolled out to the KU School of Medicine and the KU School of Allied Health.
�This program is an excellent example of how education can be responsive to the real needs of the health care industry,� said Irene Cumming, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Hospital, the independently governed hospital affiliated with the University of Kansas health science schools. �As information technology becomes as ingrained in health care as the stethoscope and thermometer, it is important that the new generation of health care professionals have the basic understanding of how it can be used to provide better patient care.�
Specific components of the Center include integrating healthcare informatics in the curriculum across health professional schools and expanding of the current healthcare informatics Master of Science program to include interdisciplinary graduate studies for the MS/certificate option; supporting the use of technology in the clinical arena to address challenges of medical error, inefficiencies, labor shortages and increasing costs; creating new partnerships with business and institutions for the advancement of healthcare informatics;providing a laboratory for research and development of new and innovative technology for health care; and providing professional development for practicing health professionals to face the challenges of a rapidly changing IT environment.