Chicago proclaims Informatics Week as it hosts AMIA

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former chief of staff, is doing his bit to promote health informationn technology. Emanuel has proclaimed Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, 2012 Informatics Week in the Windy City.

“I urge all Chicagoans to make an effort to participate in the activities highlighting the role of informatics in improving the quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare in Chicago and the United States,” said Emanuel in his proclamation.  

“Informatics-based tools are important for improving both the quality and efficiency of healthcare for the citizens of Chicago and the nation,” Emanuel said. “Chicago is the home to thousands of healthcare providers that use informatics-based tools and numerous corporations that provide informatics solutions and hire informatics professionals. Chicago is a center for informatics research and education."

This event is the first of its kind in Chicago and highlights the rapidly growing importance of healthcare informatics to the region, according to city officials. It coincides with the world’s premier scientific meeting for biomedical and health informatics, the AMIA 2012 Annual Symposium, being held in Chicago for the first time since 2007. Chicago also happens to be the home of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a nationwide organization for health IT professionals.

Co-chairs for Informatics Week are Justin Starren, MD, chief of the Division of Health and Biomedical Informatics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Frank Naeymi-Rad, chairman and chief executive officer of Intelligent Medical Objects, a developer of medical terminology solutions for medical records systems.

According to Starren, the two primary goals are to raise awareness of biomedical and health informatics throughout the Chicago area, and to showcase the breadth and depth of Chicago-based informatics activities to international visitors who will be in town for the AMIA Symposium. Starren also noted, “Since moving to Chicago, I have been amazed by both the quality and volume of informatics activity in this city. I have been equally amazed by how unaware my colleagues outside of Chicago are of this activity. Informatics Week is a great way to highlight all the great informatics activity happening in Chicago.”

“Chicago is home to thousands of healthcare informatics professionals, numerous medical societies and associations, and many leading companies involved in developing informatics products for the healthcare industry,” said Naeymi-Rad. “Our city is a major hub in the development of products that enable the meaningful electronic exchange of clinical data. Having AMIA’s annual conference here is significant in recognizing the advances being made in health informatics that will transform healthcare right here in Chicago.”

 [See also: Chicago hospital sees 5 keys to clinical integration.]