Creating opportunities in clinical informatics education

  • Jennifer MacGregor
  • 04/28/2016

Sir William Osler, the Canadian physician frequently described as the Father of Modern Medicine, was an innovator in medical training. He created the first residency program for specialties and introduced bedside clinical training as part of physician education. He once said:

Observe, record, tabulate, communicate. Use your five senses…Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone you can become expert.

Though Osler said this more than 100 years ago, the principles are still relevant today. Observe, record, tabulate, communicate – modern clinical informatics strives to help clinicians with all of these foundational aspects of medicine. Allscripts is working with world-class Canadian education organizations to create additional opportunities in this field.

Partnering with Dalhousie University to improve healthcare IT education opportunities

Dalhousie University is known for providing its researchers and students with real-world opportunities to apply their learning. Dalhousie and Allscripts have formed an academic alliance to ultimately improve health care.

In January 2016, Dalhousie University’s Health Informatics Group brought together students from medical and computer science disciplines for a two-day code-a-thon to equip students with the knowledge and tools to build new applications on top of electronic health records (EHRs). During the hands-on workshop, the Allscripts Innovations team educated Dalhousie members on the developer toolkits and Open APIs available to clients that wish to integrate third-party applications.

“When you look at something as complex and large-scale as health IT, it’s not one little piece of software, but a whole environment,” Dr. Andrew Rau-Chaplin, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science, said. “Partnering with companies is an opportunity to connect the academic setting to concrete examples in a number of dimensions.”

Supporting Canada’s first scholarship in nursing informatics

Nursing Informatics is the “science and practice (that) integrates nursing, its information and knowledge, with management of information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families, and communities worldwide.” (IMIA Special Interest Group on Nursing Informatics 2009).

To help ensure that Canadian nurses are highly trained in this discipline, the Canadian Nurses Foundation recently established the Dr. Kathryn J. Hannah Nursing Informatics Scholarship, named after a pioneer in the field.

“Advancing nursing knowledge is crucial to every aspect of patient care and health service delivery for all Canadians,” Canadian Nurses Foundation CEO Christine Rieck Buckley said. “We need more nurses prepared at the graduate level with experience in health informatics. As Canada’s only national nursing foundation, we are delighted to work with corporations like Allscripts in this valuable scholarship fund.”

Investing in tomorrow’s clinical informatics leaders

When I meet with healthcare leaders around the country, I’m inspired by their dedication to continuous improvement of care. I think Osler said it best when he said:

The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.

I’m encouraged to know there are brilliant minds at work in the field of clinical informatics. There’s also a passion for helping others that is second to none. The future is in good hands.

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About the author

Jennifer MacGregor is Managing Director for Allscripts Canada sales and operations. In this role, she leads the sales, development, professional services teams in the different regions across the country. Most recently, MacGregor led the Allscripts Professional Services organization across all three regional business teams, where she was responsible for services sales, driving client satisfaction, and creating a consistent methodology throughout the regions. MacGregor began her career with Allscripts in 2005 as a Practice Manager, focusing on computerized physician order entry, outcomes measurement and clinical adoption. Her collaborative leadership enabled a number of clients to successfully implement large scale clinical transformation initiatives. MacGregor’s career progressed as she led the successful implementation of Allscripts solutions at many clients as a Program Director. She also led the regional services team as Associate Vice President Professional Services in both Canada and the western region of the United States, where she had responsibility for ensuring quality outcomes for Allscripts customers. Prior to Allscripts, MacGregor was a Senior Healthcare Consultant with a consulting firm working with Canadian healthcare organizations to develop HIT strategic plans, facilitating regional healthcare leadership initiatives and implementing client solutions. MacGregor has both a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences and an MBA from The University of Calgary.



Lena (Milena) Matyas says:

05/06/2016 at 7:25 am

I am a Master’s degree (Master of Science Nursing Informatics) prepared Nursing Informatics Specialist working with Allscripts Clinical Manager in an acute hospital currently. I have 22 years of Nursing experience, out of that 6 years in informatics. I also have communication based population health management with the utilization of clinical informatics. I am a Canadian citizen living in the US since 1997, received my BScN University of Ottawa in 1995. I am looking forward collaboration for investing in the future of clinical informatics in Canada.


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