October 17, 1997

VUMC’s Informatics Center ready to shine for national group

VUMC's Informatics Center ready to shine for national group

A national gathering of developers and users of health-related information systems will visit Vanderbilt University Medical Center ‹ home of one of the country's most advanced medical information systems ‹ during a Fall symposium in Nashville Oct. 25-29.

Vanderbilt's Informatics Center will be open for member tours on Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26 during the meeting of the American Medical Informatics Association. The center's library-related resources and programs and Vanderbilt's clinical computing environment will be highlighted during the tours.

The AMIA, which will meet at the Opryland Hotel, is the premier medical informatics association in the United States dedicated to the development and application of medical informatics in the support of patient care, teaching, research, and health care administration. The association has more than 3,700 members.

"We are very much looking forward to having the group of distinguished informatics professionals visit Vanderbilt," said Dr. William W. Stead, associate vice-chancellor for Health Affairs."

The group's dual focus will be "The Emergence of Internetable Health Care" and "Systems that Really Work." Together they describe important features of health care in the 90s.

The Internet focus will address challenges to be faced when public data networks are used for private health information. The "systems that really work" portion will address the growing importance of careful evaluation in the use of information technologies in an era of cost containment.

Vanderbilt's Informatics Center has been the focus of national and international attention before. The faculty at Vanderbilt have played a significant role in the role of organized medical informatics in the United States. Dr. Randolph A. Miller, chairman of the division of Biomedical Informatics, is immediate past president of the AMIA. Stead is president-elect of the American College of Informatics, the elected fellowship arm of the association.

In 1996, representatives from some of the nation's top academic medical centers attended a conference at VUMC to learn about the medical center's Integrated Advanced Information Management System (IAIMS) and components such as MARS (Medical Archiving System).

"The Vanderbilt Informatics Center is a one-of-a-kind organization, bringing together the Eskind Biomedical Library, the medical center's information management operations, and the Division of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine. This structure helps the rapid movement of ideas from research into practice," Stead said.

"Vanderbilt is recognized as a world leader among academic health centers in four areas of biomedical informatics ‹ interacting with providers of care at the time and place that they are making decisions; providing one-stop information shopping for services and information; reducing the cost and time for implementation of information technology infrastructure; and developing people with the skills to integrate informatics innovation into practice," he said.

The Informatics Center is also the editorial home of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association and a co-developer with the Intermountain Health System of the national strategy for quality assurance for medical software.

Vanderbilt's commitment to informatics has been substantial. More than $20 million in institutional capital investment has been mobilized over the past six years to establish the division, build facilities and implement components of the information management infrastructure.

In an announcement unrelated to the conference, VUMC's web page has also been named one of the world's best by Info World. The page was listed 21st in the top 100.