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The Impact of Imaging Informatics Fellowships

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Abstract

Imaging informatics (II) is an area within clinical informatics that is particularly important in the field of radiology. Provider groups have begun employing dedicated radiologist-informaticists to bridge medical, information technology and administrative functions, and academic institutions are meeting this demand through formal II fellowships. However, little is known about how these programs influence graduates’ careers and perceptions about professional development. We electronically surveyed 26 graduates from US II fellowships and consensus leaders in the II community—many of whom were subspecialty diagnostic radiologists (68%) employed within academic institutions (48%)—about the perceived impact of II fellowships on career development and advancement. All graduates felt that II fellowship made them more valuable to employers, with the majority of reporting ongoing II roles (78%) and continued used of competencies (61%) and skills (56%) gained during fellowship in their current jobs. Other key benefits included access to mentors, protected time for academic work, networking opportunities, and positive impacts of annual compensation. Of respondents without II fellowship training, all would recommend fellowships to current trainees given the ability to gain a “still rare” but “essential skill set” that is “critical for future leaders in radiology” and “better job opportunities.” While some respondents felt that II fellowships needed further formalization and standardization, most (85%) disagreed with requiring a 2-year II fellowship in order to qualify for board certification in clinical informatics. Instead, most believed that fellowships should be integrated with clinical residency or fellowship training while preserving formal didactics and unstructured project time. More work is needed to understand existing variations in II fellowship training structure and identify the optimal format for programs targeted at radiologists.

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Correspondence to Geraldine J. Liao.

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This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Liao, G.J., Nagy, P.G. & Cook, T.S. The Impact of Imaging Informatics Fellowships. J Digit Imaging 29, 438–442 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10278-016-9862-4

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