The Evolution of a Novel Biomedical Informatics Curriculum for Medical Students

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Abstract

Health information technology is an essential component of current medical practice, and federal initiatives to promote the further adoption of these technologies are under way. Therefore, it is increasingly important that medical students receive training in the use of these technologies and become familiar with the discipline of biomedical informatics (BMI), which seeks to maximize the utility of health information. In August 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine established a new four-year medical school campus in Phoenix. At the same time, a new BMI department was created by the Arizona State University on the same campus. One of the unique features of the new medical school curriculum was a significant focus on BMI, consisting of over 45 hours of required sequenced and integrated instruction in BMI topics. This article describes how the medical school curriculum was created, what BMI elements were contained within the curriculum, and how the instruction was provided. Evaluation of the curriculum included subjective and objective components and revealed significant differences both within group (pre- and posttraining) and across groups when compared with students without formal BMI training. Specifically, self-assessment of BMI ability increased after exposure to the curriculum, and students receiving the BMI curriculum were able to answer objective questions related to BMI content. Implications and lessons learned in the implementation are also discussed.

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