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MS in Applied Clinical Informatics (MSACI)

The Master of Science in Applied Clinical Informatics program at Vanderbilt provides a 36 credit hour curriculum in 21 months, with a coursework-intensive first year, and followed by a second year devoted to a capstone project.  Our objective is to provide innovative clinical informatics education for working professionals in the health care field with graduates assuming leadership roles in the application and innovation of clinical informatics nationally. The curriculum emphasizes a deep theoretical and practical understanding of the care process, informatics concepts, information technologies, computer science, and the changing social, organizational, and economic context in which health care is delivered.  This understanding will be developed through coursework, over 240 hours of practicum experience that utilizes real HIT data and systems and healthcare contexts, and a mentored capstone project.  The MSACI will also satisfy educational certification requirements for physicians seeking subspecialty board recognition in Clinical Informatics.

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In-Person Sessions and Synchronous Course Requirements

Our program is in a primarily digital format to accommodate distance learning for professionals working in health systems outside of Vanderbilt.  The degree program requires students to attend a 1-2 day in-person session on the campus of Vanderbilt University at the beginning of every semester.  Also, the program hosts synchronous course meetings (virtual classes) on Thursday evenings from 5:00–8:00 p.m. CST each week that students are expected to attend and participate; these sessions unfold in real-time and allow interaction with departmental faculty, health IT leaders, and nationally known guest instructors.

Practicum Experience

A practicum experience will have the following characteristics: require a minimum of 240 hours effort to be completed during year 2 and can be satisfied in highly flexible ways, e.g., at VUMC, at home institution or another site (with MSACI program approval). The student must be embedded (i.e., assigned to participate as a member) in an interdisciplinary team that is addressing a significant clinical informatics challenge. This includes attending regular team meetings and participating in analysis of issues, planning, and implementation of recommendations from the team. The interdisciplinary teams must include physicians, nurses, other health care professionals, administrators, and information technology/system personnel, as appropriate.

Capstone Project

A required capstone project running throughout the program will provide students with knowledge and skills required to design and conduct applied research studies to evaluate the efficacy of informatics applications in the clinical environment. Based on personal career objectives and informatics challenges that they identify in practica, the capstone project will have the flexibility to be completed as a cohort, a sub-cohort group, or individually, depending on its design and the needs of our learners. The project will begin in the first year and continue in the second year. Each student selects a Capstone Project Committee, which includes a Committee Chair (a DBMI faculty member), a Practice Mentor (someone within the student’s home department or organization), and the MSACI Capstone Course Director.

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions or comments, please email Claudia McCarn.