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New Clinical Informatics Curriculum Prepares Future Pathologists

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SOURCE College of American Pathologists

Leading pathology organizations address education need in residency training in data-driven health care

NORTHFIELD, Ill., July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The widespread adoption of the electronic health record (EHR), spurred in large part by meaningful use and related federal programs, is changing the way health care providers interact with laboratory information. Now, more than ever, pathologists need to be well-versed in the field of clinical informatics in order to deliver high quality and cost-effective patient care.

To address the educational needs of pathologists in this evolving health care landscape, the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC), and the Association for Pathology Informatics (API), announced today the launch of a new graduate medical education clinical informatics curriculum-Pathology Informatics Essentials for Residents (PIER)-at the APC annual meeting.

"The CAP is proud to collaborate with APC and API on this important education initiative to help train pathology residents in clinical informatics," said CAP President Gene N. Herbek, MD, FCAP. "Today's health care environment calls for pathologists with competencies in clinical informatics to manage technology advances for the diagnostic management of patient care. PIER addresses this education and workforce need."

Jointly developed by the three organizations, PIER presents informatics topics identified by leading experts in the field. It offers key training elements for residency program directors and faculty to implement informatics training, while meeting the milestone requirements outlined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Interested residency programs can find details about PIER on the APC's website at apcprods.org/PIER.

"Training pathology residents in clinical informatics is 'a must' to build the skills required now and in the future," said APC President-Elect Donald S. Karcher, MD, one of the leaders overseeing the development of PIER and chairman of the Department of Pathology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. "We designed PIER with the residency programs in mind and have created a flexible curriculum, which can be integrated throughout residency training."

Theory and Practice
PIER is designed for all pathology residents-those specializing in anatomic or clinical pathology or both. The curriculum exposes residents to information technology in pathology as they participate in their anatomic and/or clinical pathology rotations and residency activities related to management; quality assurance and control; and regulatory and accreditation issues; as well as the daily flow of information into and out of the laboratory and the proper utilization of that information. Each topic includes key outcomes mapped to pathology informatics ACGME milestone levels.

"PIER serves as a research-based instructional resource," said Liron Pantanowitz, MD, API immediate past president, co-leader of the working group developing PIER, and director of the Pathology Informatics Fellowship Program and associate director of the Pathology Informatics Division at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "We plan to update PIER as technology advances to ensure residents receive the most current knowledge in this field."

The three organizations designed PIER to help residency programs prepare their residents for the future of the specialty.

"Information management will continue to play a crucial role in pathology," said Walter Henricks, MD, FCAP, medical director of Pathology Informatics at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and co-leader of the PIER working group. "By developing PIER, we are empowering pathologists in clinical informatics with the knowledge and skill sets necessary to meet the demands of the current and future health care environment."

About the College of American Pathologists
As the leading organization with more than 18,000 board-certified pathologists, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. The CAP's Laboratory Improvement Programs, initiated 65 years ago, currently has customers in more than 100 countries, accrediting 7,600 laboratories and providing proficiency testing to 20,000 laboratories worldwide. Find more information about the CAP at cap.org. Follow CAP on Twitter: @pathologists.

About the Association of Pathology Chairs
The Association of Pathology Chairs (APC) serves as the voice of academic pathology. The APC exists to provide leadership and advocacy for this dynamic discipline and to enable academic departments to meet the demands of their three missions-medical education, research, and practice. The APC provides education, training, information resources, and networking opportunities for chairs, residency program directors, medical student educators, department administrators, and graduate program coordinators.

About the Association for Pathology Informatics
The mission of the Association for Pathology Informatics (API) is to promote the field of pathology informatics as an academic and clinical subspecialty of pathology. API provides a leadership role in the promotion of data standards relating to both pathology research and service pathology to encourage effective reporting and integration of pathology data. API has over 350 members comprised of physicians, researchers, residents, fellows, technical staff, and individual members covered under our Corporate, Non-Profit, and Teaching Institutional memberships. API was originally organized in 2000 as a part of Universities Associated for Research and Education in Pathology, a 501(c)(3) organization that subsequently dissolved in 2002. In September 2009, API was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and received approval of status as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. In March 2013, API signed an MOU with the American Society for Clinical Pathology to collaborate on education and advocacy. In addition, ASCP manages API's membership services.

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