A new master’s degree program at the Stanford School of Medicine is designed to provide professionals in medicine, information technology and related fields with business and digital expertise to improve the quality and lower the costs of health care.
The first class of students in the Master of Science in Clinical Informatics Management program, or MCiM, will begin their studies in June 2021. They will learn core business and technology skills and explore the operational, clinical and ethical implications of digital innovations in the health care setting.
“With its innovative curriculum and format, MCiM will provide students with the skills, knowledge and insights to bring together technology and the clinical enterprise in entirely new ways,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “COVID-19 has highlighted the need for diverse digital applications in health care, so the launch of this program could not be timelier.”
The one-year program is designed for working professionals. About a third of the students will represent the medical field — including nurses, physicians and administrators — while the remaining will come from technology and other sectors.
“Reducing costs is a business issue, and technology is the path for getting there,” said Kevin Schulman, MD, director of MCiM and a professor of medicine. “You have to make the business case and build the best possible solution if you’re going to change and improve health care. That’s what this program is about.”
Applicants will need to demonstrate their academic preparation for a rigorous master’s program and their ability to contribute to class discussions. The first class will include about 25 students; eventually, Schulman expects the program to graduate 60 students a year. Classes will be held at Stanford every other Friday and Saturday, with remote learning the rest of the time.
Schulman said he wants the master’s degree to create opportunities for a diverse group of professionals. “We’re very interested in using the program to advance the careers of women and under-represented minority groups,” he said.
Faculty from the school of medicine and from the Stanford School of Engineering will teach courses in finance, ethics, data science, health information technology, health care quality, management and other topics. Students will learn how to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams, how to develop and deploy effective technology applications, how to get technology adopted within an organization, and how to communicate with health care leaders or venture capitalists about the value of a project.
Graduates of the program will be able to apply their knowledge in clinics and hospitals, life sciences organizations, and technology companies focused on health care.
Schulman, who also has a courtesy appointment at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, helped start a master’s degree program in clinical informatics management at Duke University 10 years ago. He came to Stanford Medicine in 2018 hoping to launch a similar program; Stanford, he said, is an ideal place for it.
“Stanford is really an amazing place to put together a program like this,” he said. “We are bringing together Stanford’s expertise in business, technology and medicine, creating a program that we believe will make a real impact on how we approach and deliver health care.”