Applied Clinical Informatics

Applied clinical informatics is the intersection of people, data and technology. In the Applied Clinical Informatics Program in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, scientists take the massive amounts of data generated in health care and apply information technology, statistical and artificial intelligence methodologies to design, test, and implement systems and processes to improve patient care.

Focus areas

Applied clinical informatics specialists support Mayo Clinic's ability to provide high quality, personalized care to all patients, meeting them where — and when — they need care. Center experts in applied clinical informatics focus on:

  • Innovation
  • Critical assessment of new applications
  • Translation of novel technology to the practice
  • Ongoing assessment of impact and value

They also support broad organizational needs such as regulatory requirements, quality reporting and financial analytics.

Applied clinical informatics experts are data driven and geared toward rapid prototyping and implementation. They collaborate across Mayo Clinic's medical practice in four primary areas:

  • Data science. Data science involves identifying and preparing data for analysis. Clinical informaticians extract discrete data sets and cleanse them of incorrect, incomplete or corrupt data, and they combine multiple data sets when needed. They then subject the data to advanced analysis to answer questions generated by Mayo Clinic practice and patient needs.
  • Assessing new technology. Center experts identify and assess the benefits offered by new health informatics programs and technology-based patient care equipment or processes, including in the rapidly growing arena of wearable devices.
  • Usability and workflow analysis. Clinical informaticians consider cost, outcomes and quality when determining how — or whether — to incorporate changes to technology or workflow that are intended to improve the experience of health care for patients and care providers.
  • Integration into the electronic health record environment. Researchers work with information technology experts and health care providers to ensure smooth interface with new tools and dashboards. Continuous enhancements to the electronic health record environment allow health care teams instant access to data necessary to provide individualized, evidence-based care to each patient.


Projects within the Applied Clinical Informatics Program are always cooperative with experts in other areas of the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, practice champions and other collaborators. In particular, many projects are jointly led with the Data Science Program.

Control Tower: Innovation framework for patient care support

The Control Tower project provides a support tool for health care providers in the inpatient setting. Built on Mayo Clinic's unified data platform and incorporating engineering, design, knowledge management and analytics capabilities, the framework provides the elements essential to building both a physical interface and the artificial intelligence to power proposed solutions.

The first proof-of-concept case for the innovation framework was developed and tested by researchers from the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery and Mayo's Center for Palliative Medicine. Researchers used machine learning techniques to develop a novel risk score, a real-time dashboard and alerts.

This tool predicts the potential need for a patient to receive palliative care support, allowing palliative care specialists to proactively offer consults. The tool has decreased the time to palliative care consultations with patients by more than 40%. Implementation has reduced 60-day readmissions by more than 25%.

Related news story:

Related publication:

Real-time identification of high-risk patient populations

A collaborative initiative led by the Applied Clinical Informatics Program team supports Mayo Clinic's antimicrobial stewardship efforts by reviving and integrating the historic inpatient antimicrobial monitoring system with the new electronic health record. This allows the antimicrobial stewardship team to identify inappropriate antibiotic coverage of infections and optimize duration of therapy.

Another project will result in the ability to quickly and simultaneously monitor patients with acute care needs in the intensive care unit and other hospital areas. The dashboard will incorporate capabilities that allow care providers to focus on increasingly specific information to support rapid decision-making and intervention.


Steve G. Peters, M.D.