Performing an Informatics Consult: Methods and Challenges

J Am Coll Radiol. 2018 Mar;15(3 Pt B):563-568. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2017.12.023. Epub 2018 Feb 13.


Our health care system is plagued by missed opportunities, waste, and harm. Data generated in the course of care are often underutilized, scientific insight goes untranslated, and evidence is overlooked. To address these problems, we envisioned a system where aggregate patient data can be used at the bedside to provide practice-based evidence. To create that system, we directly connect practicing physicians to clinical researchers and data scientists through an informatics consult. Our team processes and classifies questions posed by clinicians, identifies the appropriate patient data to use, runs the appropriate analyses, and returns an answer, ideally in a 48-hour time window. Here, we discuss the methods that are used for data extraction, processing, and analysis in our consult. We continue to refine our informatics consult service, moving closer to a learning health care system.

Keywords: Learning health system; clinical informatics; observational study; practice-based evidence.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Decision Making*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics Applications*
  • Patient Care Management / trends*
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*