Program Description

The Partners Clinical Informatics Elective is a one month elective offered on a rolling basis to current medical students (3rd year and above), interns and residents in good standing. The overall objective of this elective is to introduce trainees to the field of clinical informatics, which has recently been recognized as a medical subspecialty by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Partners HealthCare is a recognized leader in the field of clinical informatics and an early adopter of health IT solutions, and trainees will work directly with expert Partners informatics faculty and professional staff at one of the various labs and divisions devoted to informatics and health IT work. Trainees will learn about the core content of clinical informatics, current challenges, and opportunities for future work through a combination of practicum, seminars and didactic sessions, independent reading, presentations, and written assignments.



  • To provide the trainee with a broad introduction to the breadth of the field of clinical informatics.
    To understand the current health IT landscape in terms of policy and incentives, and its role in advancing institutional missions.
  • To familiarize trainees with fundamental tools and techniques used by informatics professionals to carry out informatics research and interventions.
  • To introduce trainees to requirements for subspecialty certification as defined by the American Board of Preventative Medicine.
  • To prepare trainees to pursue a future career in clinical informatics.

Practicum – 50%

The trainee will be matched with a mentor from the faculty or informatics professional staff whose area of practice is similar to the trainee’s stated interests. The trainee will have the opportunity to shadow this mentor and observe day-to-day activities involved in an active informatics project. When possible, the mentor may assign the trainee tasks commensurate with his or her level of familiarity with the project content.

Seminars and didactic sessions – 20%

The trainee will be required to attend seminars and didactic sessions offered by various Partners HealthCare entities and HMS. These may include weekly clinical informatics seminars offered by Partners IS and biweekly seminars at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Countway Library, as well as didactic sessions with current Partners Clinical Informatics & Innovation fellows. The trainee will be provided with a schedule of required sessions at the beginning of the rotation.

The trainee will also be given the opportunity to meet with other faculty and staff on an informal basis to discuss their own work and career trajectories. The goal is to give the trainee a sense of the depth of the field and possibilities for future development.

Independent reading – 10%

The trainee will be provided with a list of required readings comprised of essential or seminal work in the field, as well as general review readings, covering a breadth of topics identified as core content for the subspecialty by the American Board of Preventative Medicine. The list will additionally include readings on fundamental tools and techniques that form the backbone of a large body of informatics projects. The trainee will be expected to complete these readings independently on his or her own schedule and should be prepared to discuss content with faculty members and fellows.

Journal Club – 10%

The trainee will be expected to present a journal club session to an audience of faculty and informatics professionals. The article discussed will be chosen by the trainee at the beginning of the rotation, with approval of the program director or assigned mentor. The article should be a recent work published in a reputable, peer-reviewed informatics journal, and should be accessible to a general informatics audience. The presentation should follow a standard journal club format, with focus on critique and implications of the work presented. The trainee is encouraged to solicit input from faculty members prior to presentation.

Written assignments – 10%

The trainee will select one of two written assignments to complete based on past experience. Trainees with past technical experience should select the Mock project proposal, while those without should select the student exercises (found on the elective website).

Mock project proposal – At the end of the rotation, the trainee will be expected to complete a brief project proposal (no more than one page) that outlines a potential future project in any area of clinical informatics. This proposal should demonstrate that the trainee has gained an understanding of current informatics needs and gaps, as well as tools and techniques available to address those gaps. This proposal should also serve to help the trainee investigate an area of particular interest to him or her and might be based on an observation/experience during the rotation. The proposal should include the following sections:

Statement of Problem or Opportunity – a brief explanation of the need this proposal will address.
Significance – discussion of how addressing this need might affect patient care, in terms of impact on effectiveness or efficiency of care provided.

Proposed Project or Research Questions – how your proposed project might address the problem described.
General Approach – brief discussion of methods you might use to complete this project.


The program director (or assigned mentor) will meet with the trainee weekly to review progress. At the end of the rotation, the trainee will be provided with verbal feedback, as well as a written evaluation which will be completed by the program director (or assigned mentor) based on feedback from faculty mentors, the trainee’s participation in didactic and seminar sessions, and completion of assignments as above. The trainee will also be asked to provide confidential feedback at the end the rotation evaluating the faculty, the curriculum and other educational experiences, including didactics.

To Apply

Resident Physicians: We welcome residents of all medical specialties from Partners-affiliated residency programs, as well as visiting residents from any US or international residency program (with appropriate visa and work authorization). Non-Partners affiliated residents will need to provide a letter of good standing from their residency program director. The letter must state that their salary and benefits will be covered in full during the elective rotation. Visiting residents will need to arrange their own travel and lodging for the duration of the rotation. Rotation dates are flexible and must be a minimum of 4 consecutive calendar weeks. The rotation will not include clinical care activities.

Permission of the elective director is required. Interested residents should contact Dr. Neelima Karipineni, MD, MMSc at nkaripineni@partners.org at least two months prior to the desired start date. We may require additional documentation and application materials.

Medical Students: Medical students from Harvard Medical School should contact the Registrar’s office to register for the elective. Visiting medical students will also need to contact the Harvard Medical School Office of the Registrar for application information.

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