Q: Where do you work and what is your current role?
A: I work at Sinai Health System in Toronto. It consists of Mount Sinai Hospital and Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital. I am the Director of Clinical Informatics at both sites.
Q: What interested you in clinical informatics?
A: After completing my Masters of Nursing I became more interested in technology, more specifically website development, backend maintenance and coding. I worked that skill into a few positions I held then I was formally introduced to clinical informatics; I found it so interesting. I had no idea it existed before then! My CNE at the time encouraged me to apply to a DNP program focusing on nursing informatics in the States and it made perfect sense- so I did.
Q: What big projects or initiatives are you working on currently?
A: A lot of strategic planning is happening right now from a Clinical Informatics perspective. We are focusing on how we make the patient record more cohesive from an inpatient and outpatient perspective. Ensuring the right governance is stood up is part of that planning and really making sure the foundations needed to properly support an EHR are in place. For example your practice and documentation standards, policies, design principles, etc.
Q: How does your work support ongoing pandemic efforts?
A: The team has had to pivot a few times, like many others, to ensure the infrastructure was in place to open new beds and practice areas like Covid testing centres for example. We ensured there was a location available for patients to be registered to and that specimen orders and labels were routed accordingly. We also redeployed staff to assist other areas when staffing was an issue.
Q: What advice do you have for those looking to enter the informatics field?
A: A great way to get into the field is by participating in an EHR implementation as an Analyst (the person who configures the system and understands clinical workflows) or even in a working group as a subject matter expert. It gives you a sense of whether informatics is for you or not. I would also advise those interested in informatics to complete a certificate, Masters or even Doctorate in the field. The formal training provides the theories and methodologies that you would not necessarily learn in the workplace. It will enhance your professional portfolio and what you can contribute to improve the quality of patient care.