Inception Health Labs

For M4 Students in Clinical Informatics Rotation

Course information for participating students



This elective provides a general introduction to the field of clinical informatics in a 4-week elective.

Clinical informatics is a field of medicine focused on transforming health care by analyzing, designing, implementing, and evaluating information and communication systems that enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship. Informaticians work at the intersection of clinical care, computer science, and healthcare management. Clinical informatics is a recognized subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties, a path physicians can pursue through ACGME-accredited fellowship training programs.

The MCW Clinical Informatics 4th year elective exposes students to the field of informatics, including the history of the field, core principles, and future career paths. Curricular topics include fundamental components of clinical information systems including the structure and function of modern electronic health records; structure and representation of knowledge into digital format, including effective decision-support; human factors engineering; patient/family informatics; software and app development using clinical data; project management and change management; and policy, including meaningful use, HIPAA, and HITECH legislation.

Students learn through a combination of case-based discussion, small group work, and shadowing experiences. In general, group morning sessions are devoted to reviewing the core content and team-based case exercises. The course includes elements of the 'flipped classroom,' including instructional videos and cases that students are expected to review and be prepared to discuss during morning sessions. Afternoon sessions are devoted to team- based project work or the course-long 'follow the order' exercise where students track orders across the clinical information system, gaining exposure to order entry and decision support, laboratory and pathology informatics, radiology informatics, scheduling, coding, and billing.

The course is aimed to advance the personal development of all students across a spectrum of prior experiences with electronic health records and computer science.

Course Meetings

Class meets M-F generally from 8 am - 12 pm, with afternoons dedicated to group project work, reading, or assignments.  Students in 2021 will be participating virtually through Zoom.

General Outline

Building Blocks - Introduction to Clinical Informatics

  • History of Clinical Computing
  • Databases (Hierarchical, Relational)
  • Data Structures
  • Structured Terminologies (SNOMED, ICD-9/10)
  • Transmission Standards (HL7, FHIR)
  • Networking
  • Cloud Computing
  • Web services and Application Programming Interfaces

Electronic Health Records

  • Application Architecture
  • Computerized Order Entry
  • Clinical Decision Support
  • Inpatient Applications
  • Outpatient Applications
  • Laboratory Information Systems
  • Radiology Information Systems
  • Peri-Operative Applications
  • Patient Portals
  • Interoperability
  • Usability
  • Quality Improvement
  • Data Warehousing

Leadership & Change Management

  • Governance of Clinical Applications
  • Development and Change Control Processes
  • Information Security
  • Physical, Technical, and Administrative Safeguards
  • HIPAA and Security Rule Regulations
  • Health Policy
  • HITECH and Meaningful Use
  • Workflow Analysis
  • Project Management 101
  • Effective Change Management Strategies
  • Technology Induced Error

Future Applications

  • Genomics
  • Machine Learning
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Smart of FHIR Applications
  • Public Health Informatics
  • Telemedicine
  • Careers in Clinical Informatics


  • Students are required to attend all lectures, unless excused by the Course directors
  • An individual manuscript is required
  • Participation in the data science exercise is required