Background: In 2007, our healthcare system established a clinical fellowship program in pathology informatics. In 2011, the program benchmarked its structure and operations against a 2009 white paper "Program requirements for fellowship education in the subspecialty of clinical informatics", endorsed by the Board of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) that described a proposal for a general clinical informatics fellowship program.
Methods: A group of program faculty members and fellows compared each of the proposed requirements in the white paper with the fellowship program's written charter and operations. The majority of white paper proposals aligned closely with the rules and activities in our program and comparison was straightforward. In some proposals, however, differences in terminology, approach, and philosophy made comparison less direct, and in those cases, the thinking of the group was recorded. After the initial evaluation, the remainder of the faculty reviewed the results and any disagreements were resolved.
Results: The most important finding of the study was how closely the white paper proposals for a general clinical informatics fellowship program aligned with the reality of our existing pathology informatics fellowship. The program charter and operations of the program were judged to be concordant with the great majority of specific white paper proposals. However, there were some areas of discrepancy and the reasons for the discrepancies are discussed in the manuscript.
Conclusions: After the comparison, we conclude that the existing pathology informatics fellowship could easily meet all substantive proposals put forth in the 2009 clinical informatics program requirements white paper. There was also agreement on a number of philosophical issues, such as the advantages of multiple fellows, the need for core knowledge and skill sets, and the need to maintain clinical skills during informatics training. However, there were other issues, such as a requirement for a 2-year fellowship and for informatics fellowships to be done after primary board certification, that pathology should consider carefully as it moves toward a subspecialty status and board certification.
Keywords: Pathology informatics fellowship; clinical informatics; clinical informatics fellowship; clinical informatics teaching; pathology informatics; pathology informatics teaching.