Remember the old movie “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” with Jimmy Stewart? From November 16-20, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) had its 2013 Annual Symposium in DC and Regenstrief Institute CBMI faculty, along with colleagues from other IU affiliates, “went to Washington.” This Symposium is the premier scientific meeting for biomedical and health informatics research and practice which takes place each year in the fall and brings together sterling informaticians from across the US and Canada, as well as many of our international colleagues.
The Symposium lived up to its – usually high – expectations as it has for the past 35 years. I might have been a little bit biased this year because I had the privilege of helping shape the program as the Applications Track Chair, along with Foundations Track Chair Katie Siek and SPC chair John Holmes. To increase program quality, we consciously lowered the acceptance rate to just over 30% from its more typical 40-43%. Together with over 2,400 attendees, we heard about conceptual and practical advances relating to biomedical information and innovations in design, technology, implementation of information systems and knowledge resources across the full spectrum of health care. Not only did we hear and learn about other’s advances and innovations, but we were able to share a few of our own with our peers.
Dave deBronkart (also known as e-Patient Dave), co-founder and board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, gave an excellent keynote on Sunday about patient engagement in healthcare. He charmed informaticians with quotes such as “Come to the dork side. We have pi.” (That quote was just meant for Burke.) Dave even wrote a nice blog post about his experience at AMIA. From the attendee comments I heard as well as tweets about his talk, it appeared to be one of the most well-received keynotes ever given at AMIA. Even I was so taken in that I tweeted:
Pete Szolovits from MIT won the 2013 Morris Collen Award, a well-deserved honor (see the video here). For those of you who do not know much about Morris Collen, Bill Tierney wrote a very nice blog post about him on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Congratulations also go to JT Finnell, CBMI faculty member, and colleagues for receiving the AMIA Leadership Award for work on Advancing the Clinical Informatics Board Review Program. (Incidentally, JT was among the first people to pass the board exam the other day.)
After the opening session I ran a panel titled “Informaticians, CxIOs and Industry: Strengthening the Fabric of HealthIT with speakers Blackford Middleton from Vanderbilt, Bret Shillingstad from Epic and Marc Overhage from Siemens (my predecessor at Regenstrief). The panel presented viewpoints from key industry and academic leaders on strategies to improve informatics’ contribution to positive changes in healthcare. It was standing room only, and we had attendees from Epic, Cerner, Allscripts and many other HIT companies. One tweet from there that got a lot of attention:
AMIA’s Welcome Reception on opening day was held in the Exhibit Hall where Regenstrief Institute shared a booth with the IU School of Informatics. This was a perfect opportunity for AMIA attendees to visit the booths and ask questions of the exhibitors. Kudos to Emily Mitchell, our fellowship coordinator, for preparing for the exhibition, setting up the booth and staffing it!
Sunday evening was the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) dinner and new Fellow induction. I am proud to say that this year Paul Biondich, CBMI faculty, was one of the inductees joining Regenstrief ACMI fellows Bill Tierney, Steve Downs, Shaun Grannis and me. Paul’s accomplishment is even more noteworthy since he was one out of only six new inductees (of over 40 nominees) – making this ACMI election one of the historically most selective.
Monday our fellow Jianmin Wu presented a paper evaluating congruence between laboratory LOINC value sets for quality measures, public health reporting and then mapping the common tests. In the afternoon, investigators Shaun Grannis and Brian Dixon participated in a panel titled “How fit is electronic health data for its intended uses? Exploring data quality across clinical, public health and research use cases.” Concurrently, investigators Jon Duke and Burke Mamlin demonstrated an update on our Gopher Order Entry System for AMIA attendees. Regenstrief Investigators Brian Dixon and Shaun Grannis, and staff member Mark Tucker, presented a demo on The Regenstrief Notifiable Condition Detector, an automated public health reporting system using routine electronic laboratory data.
Tuesday IU colleague and Director of the Department of BioHealth Informatics at the IU School of Informatics Brad Doebbeling presented a paper discussing informatics challenges and strategies to prevent MRSA infections from a multihospital infection prevention collaborative viewpoint. Brad collaborated on this paper, which received an AMIA Distinguished Paper Award, with Abel Kho, former CBMI fellow, from Northwestern for several years.
CBMI investigators Brian Dixon, JT Finnell, Shaun Grannis, fellow Jianmin Wu and former fellow Jason Cadwallader also presented Variation in Information Needs and Quality: Implications for Public Health Surveillance and Biomedical Informatics, Opioid Abuse Risk Scoring within an Emergency Department, and A Practical Method for Predicting Frequent Use of Emergency Department Care Using Routinely Available Electronic Registration Data. Posters presented by Blaine Takesue, Brian Dixon, Josette Jones and some former Regenstrief fellows during the last two days of the meeting included:
• Health Literacy Redefined through Patient Engagement Framework
• Validation of Semantic Synsets in Natural Language Processing
• Patient, Caregiver, and Provider Perceptions of a Colorectal Cancer Personal Health Record
• Measuring and Improving the Fitness of Electronic Clinical Data for Reuse in Public Health, Research, and Other Use Cases
• Using SMART and i2b2 to Efficiently Identify Adverse Events
• Semantic Processing to Identify Adverse Drug Event Information from Black Box Warnings
Tuesday evening a large group of past and present Regenstrief folks embraced good food, a few drinks and a lot of conversation at a nice Italian restaurant, Bistro Bistro. It was great to catch with colleagues, staff and former trainees in a more informal setting.
Brian Dixon wrapped up on Wednesday with the inaugural and well-received “Year in Review for Public and Global Health Informatics.” The session reviewed recent literature in the areas of public health and global health informatics highlighting trends, knowledge, methods, and lessons from public health and the use of informatics in resource-constrained settings.
We have lots of hard work ahead of us to ensure next year we have even more new, exciting and innovative ideas that to showcase the Regenstrief Institute’s leadership in Biomedical Informatics. Are you interested in making that happen? We are currently recruiting for several faculty positions, ranging from the Sam Regenstrief Chair in biomedical informatics and a Chief Research Informatics Officer to midcareer and junior faculty positions. For more information, please see the postings at http://bit.ly/RCBMI_Faculty.
PS Thanks to Sandy Poremba for helping put this blog post together.