Yale launches new health informatics division

The Yale School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics has launched a new health informatics division and masters program aimed at using data from electronic health records (EHRs) to advance clinical and public health research.

Health informatics is described as the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning. As student interest grows in issues surrounding big data acquisition and its mismanagement, the university hopes the program will increase research and education in the field and collaborations with large data initiatives and centers.

The new program will also focus on improving the accuracy of EHRs by using AI and machine learning, according to a report by the Yale Daily News. An analysis by Harvard Business Review noted data extraction from free text is one of several capabilities in EHR systems that currently use AI.

“This division will prepare much needed specialists to work with clinical and public health groups to deal with their growing and unique data challenges,” Cynthia Brandt, MD, professor and director of the Yale Center for Medical Informatics, said in a prepared statement. “The need is great, and I am thrilled that the Yale School of Public Health is taking the lead in this crucial field.”

Brandt will serve as the director of the new division. Students will be able to enroll in the program during the fall.

“We expect tremendous interest in this discipline and excellent synergy with the health science schools and the Yale New Haven Health System,” Hongyu Zhao, PhD, chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Ira V. Hiscock professor of biostatistics, said in a prepared statement.