Christoph Lehmann, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Data Sciences, has been appointed inaugural Associate Dean of Clinical Informatics, charged with leading UT Southwestern’s expansion in this field that harnesses the power of big data to improve patient care.
UTSW’s Clinical Informatics Center (CIC) was established in 2019 to develop, implement, and evaluate clinical informatics solutions for health care providers and train practitioners in the field. Led by Dr. Lehmann, the CIC has grown to include seven members and about two dozen affiliated faculty, launched a monthly colloquium that provides health information technology updates, and welcomed the first students to a new Master of Science in Health Informatics program. The CIC is also a founding member of the Texas Health Informatics Alliance.
“As a health care system, we generate data as a by-product of patient care. These data can be leveraged to develop innovations for the health care system which can be applied in the clinical setting and measured. That is what clinical informatics does,” said Dr. Lehmann, who also holds an appointment in the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics. “We are starting to go beyond just the development of machine-learning models and actively working on implementing these models using the appropriate care, ethical considerations, and human oversight. We want our clinicians to benefit from our insights and enable them to better take care of their patients.”
Eric Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., Vice Provost and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research, said UT Southwestern has made significant strides in clinical informatics in a short time frame across the institution.
“Under Dr. Lehmann’s leadership, the Clinical Informatics Center quickly became known for innovative research in clinical informatics and related domains, the Master of Science in Health Informatics was developed and launched, and a new fellowship program is starting this summer,” said Dr. Peterson, also Professor of Internal Medicine. “In his new role, Dr. Lehmann supports investigators who leverage the electronic health record and other data sources for research, and he helps propel UT Southwestern to become a national model for data democratization and innovative interventions.”
Faculty and staff of the Center collaboratively focus their efforts across a wide spectrum of efforts and research, including general clinical informatics; consumer informatics; knowledge architecture; clinical decision support; people, organizations and technology research; and analytics and modeling.
Clinical informatics will be integrated into research and educational programs at UT Southwestern’s newest school, the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health, which plans to welcome its first students next year.
Previously, the CIC helped to establish the two-year Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) program at UTSW administered through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, as well as a two-position Fellowship Program in Clinical Informatics that will start in July.