A core curriculum for clinical fellowship training in pathology informatics

J Pathol Inform. 2012;3:31. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.100364. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Abstract

Background: In 2007, our healthcare system established a clinical fellowship program in Pathology Informatics. In 2010 a core didactic course was implemented to supplement the fellowship research and operational rotations. In 2011, the course was enhanced by a formal, structured core curriculum and reading list. We present and discuss our rationale and development process for the Core Curriculum and the role it plays in our Pathology Informatics Fellowship Training Program.

Materials and methods: The Core Curriculum for Pathology Informatics was developed, and is maintained, through the combined efforts of our Pathology Informatics Fellows and Faculty. The curriculum was created with a three-tiered structure, consisting of divisions, topics, and subtopics. Primary (required) and suggested readings were selected for each subtopic in the curriculum and incorporated into a curated reading list, which is reviewed and maintained on a regular basis.

Results: Our Core Curriculum is composed of four major divisions, 22 topics, and 92 subtopics that cover the wide breadth of Pathology Informatics. The four major divisions include: (1) Information Fundamentals, (2) Information Systems, (3) Workflow and Process, and (4) Governance and Management. A detailed, comprehensive reading list for the curriculum is presented in the Appendix to the manuscript and contains 570 total readings (current as of March 2012).

Discussion: The adoption of a formal, core curriculum in a Pathology Informatics fellowship has significant impacts on both fellowship training and the general field of Pathology Informatics itself. For a fellowship, a core curriculum defines a basic, common scope of knowledge that the fellowship expects all of its graduates will know, while at the same time enhancing and broadening the traditional fellowship experience of research and operational rotations. For the field of Pathology Informatics itself, a core curriculum defines to the outside world, including departments, companies, and health systems considering hiring a pathology informatician, the core knowledge set expected of a person trained in the field and, more fundamentally, it helps to define the scope of the field within Pathology and healthcare in general.

Keywords: Clinical informatics curriculum; clinical informatics teaching; informatics core content; informatics curriculum; pathology informatics; pathology informatics core content; pathology informatics curriculum; pathology informatics definition; pathology informatics fellowship; pathology informatics teaching.