Department of Community & Family Medicine
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Division of Clinical Informatics


Division of Clinical Informatics

 “Improving Patient Quality and Safety with Health Information Technology”
Duke University Medical Center 
Department of Community & Family Medicine (CFM)
Division of Clinical Informatics
Clinical Informatics is a multidisciplinary field focusing on computer applications that address the collection, processing and representation of medical data. Research activities in the Division of Clinical Informatics at Duke include:
    • Computer-based patient record systems
    • Decision support systems
    • Hospital information systems
    • Computer-assisted management protocol systems
    • Standards development
    • Security, confidentiality, and privacy
    • Medical data mining


In the middle 1960s, Duke was involved, with IBM, in a research project known as the Clinical Decision Support System. From this time on, Duke University Medical Center has not only been involved in research in the field now known as medical informatics, but has demonstrated strong interest and commitment to medical computing projects.
One area of research grew out of the MIRU projects of the late 1960s. A group within the Division of Cardiology developed a research database for individuals seen at Duke Medical Center having a diagnosis of coronary artery disease. This research database, referred to as the living textbook of medicine, has been a leader in methods for extracting knowledge from computerized databases.
In the mid-1970s, a group of researchers at Duke developed the Duke Hospital Information System (DHIS). This system, marketed by IBM as PCS, is still one of the most implemented HISs in the world. DHIS provides patient registration, admission-discharge-transfer (ADT), order entry, laboratory results reporting, accounting and billing functionality at terminals located throughout the medical center campus.
Duke is also the home of The Medical Record (TMR). Since 1968, on-going research into developing a computer-based medical record has driven the development of what is now one of the premier computer-based medical record systems in the country. Originally developed for the ambulatory care setting, TMR has expanded to the inpatient setting including Labor and Delivery Unit and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Duke. Recent work has involved the bridging of inpatient and outpatient into one continuous computerized patient record for the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Most of the trainees are housed in the TMR Laboratory. This provides for hands-on experience with operational systems in a clinical environment.
Bringing all of these resources together for the benefit of researchers, clinicians and patients is the focus of the Duke Integrated Academic Information Management System (IAIMS) initiative. Duke University Medical Center is a recipient of National Library of Medicine (NLM) funding for an IAIMS Phase III Implementation Grant. The implementation process provides for demonstrations of full IAIMS function in each of four user domain (administration, education, patient care and research) as well as the extension of a critical mass of IAIMS functions to all users. The IAIMS project also includes the development of new techniques of user support and the evaluation of system effectiveness.
The awarding in 1991 of NLM funding for an institutional training program represents the capstone of medical informatics research at Duke. More than 25 years of experience are brought to bare in the training of new medical informatics researchers. The institution of the training program established a formal pathway for trainees with an interest in medical computing to receive advanced training at an institution that has been on the forefront of medical informatics research.

Contact Information

For general information about the Division of Clinical Informatics, please call 919-684-6421.
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