Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30

Different tracks for pathology informatics fellowship training: Experiences of and input from trainees in a large multisite fellowship program


1 Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA, USA
2 Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA, USA
3 Department of Pathology, Weill Cornell Medical College, 575 Lexington Avenue, New York, USA
4 Department of Pathology, North Shore Medical Center, 81 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA, USA

Correspondence Address:
John R Gilbertson
Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.100362

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Background: Pathology Informatics is a new field; a field that is still defining itself even as it begins the formalization, accreditation, and board certification process. At the same time, Pathology itself is changing in a variety of ways that impact informatics, including subspecialization and an increased use of data analysis. In this paper, we examine how these changes impact both the structure of Pathology Informatics fellowship programs and the fellows' goals within those programs. Materials and Methods: As part of our regular program review process, the fellows evaluated the value and effectiveness of our existing fellowship tracks (Research Informatics, Clinical Two-year Focused Informatics, Clinical One-year Focused Informatics, and Clinical 1 + 1 Subspecialty Pathology and Informatics). They compared their education, informatics background, and anticipated career paths and analyzed them for correlations between those parameters and the fellowship track chosen. All current and past fellows of the program were actively involved with the project. Results: Fellows' anticipated career paths correlated very well with the specific tracks in the program. A small set of fellows (Clinical - one or two year - Focused Informatics tracks) anticipated clinical careers primarily focused in informatics (Director of Informatics). The majority of the fellows, however, anticipated a career practicing in a Pathology subspecialty, using their informatics training to enhance that practice (Clinical 1 + 1 Subspecialty Pathology and Informatics Track). Significantly, all fellows on this track reported they would not have considered a Clinical Two-year Focused Informatics track if it was the only track offered. The Research and the Clinical One-year Focused Informatics tracks each displayed unique value for different situations. Conclusions: It seems a "one size fits all" fellowship structure does not fit the needs of the majority of potential Pathology Informatics candidates. Increasingly, these fellowships must be able to accommodate the needs of candidates anticipating a wide range of Pathology Informatics career paths, be able to accommodate Pathology's increasingly subspecialized structure, and do this in a way that respects the multiple fellowships needed to become a subspecialty pathologist and informatician. This is further complicated as Pathology Informatics begins to look outward and takes its place in the growing, and still ill-defined, field of Clinical Informatics, a field that is not confined to just one medical specialty, to one way of practicing medicine, or to one way of providing patient care.


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