AMIA 2017 Annual Symposium - informatics home

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Submitted by Dr. Martha Adams, DGIM and AMIA member

Informatician? Informaticist? Does the name matter? If you’re one of these people, how about just saying what you do? Is it data mining, natural language processing, clinical decision support, predictive analytics? People will get it. And, speaking of people, many of us this past week were with “our people” for the AMIA 2017 annual symposium in Washington, DC. AMIA stands for the American Medical Informatics Association.

The themes that stood out this year were interoperability, open platforms, and population health. A highlight for me was an entire halfday workshop learning about the HL7 interoperability standard known as “FHIR” (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). It’s this specification that’s facilitating the open platform for novel decision support development, the opportunity for new apps that read and write data from the EHR. And another example, many of you will want to know about, “Sync for Science (S4S)”, is built on these open standards for healthcare data and security. Sync for Science is a new way for patients to indicate they want to share EHR data with research.

Among many Duke attendees, scholars from medicine delivered research papers and participated as panelists – Nirmish Shah presented a pilot study of a mobile app for pain management in Sickle cell disease, James Tcheng informed a large audience about optimizing strategies for CDS adoption and use, and Lesley Curtis, our new interim chair of the department of population health sciences, spoke about the PCORnet Learning Cycle. It was announced that Dr. Curtis will be the keynote for the AMIA Informatics Summit next March 2018 in San Francisco. 

Attending the AMIA conference is an opportunity to see the future, to converse with policy wonks, and elbow with accomplished, famous people like Patti Brennan, former chair of AMIA and currently director of the National Library of Medicine, and Ed Hammond from Duke, a renowned pioneer in informatics. The keynote address was given by the new director of the “All of Us” project from NIH, Eric Dishman. AMIA is also about translating science and innovation. There was a “PitchIt!” competition for soon to be entrepreneurs. A quick peak to learn more is the twitter stream (#AMIA2017), rich with detail, made even 

more rich on the last day when the standard 140 character tweet limit became 280 characters.

I consider myself an informatician and AMIA is my professional home. As an example of impact that's possible in informatics, just knowing a little about applied clinical informatics, I am most proud as co-author of a paper in BMC medical informatics and decision making about information retrieval using “PICO” which is a structured search strategy for EBM. Our citations for this paper are now over 370. Bridging technology with knowledge management, I believe those of us in general internal medicine are uniquely positioned to make a difference in the future of medicine.

Besides all that's offered by the AMIA organization, here are other opportunities I encourage you to explore:

Duke resources:

  • DCHI informatics seminar series, watch streamed or live in Hock auditorium 
  • Duke Mobile App Gateway sponsored by Duke CTSI (read more)
  • Duke Genomic and Precision Medicine Weekly Forum (read more)
  • DIHI Duke Institute for Health Innovation 
  • Duke MCCi, Master of Management of Clinical Informatics 

  • SGIM 2018 this year is all about digital innovation. 
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine), offers a free weeklong course