Special Interest Section Profile: Clinical Informatics Section

The American Headache Society is home to a diverse array of Special Interest Sections that connect members with shared expertise and interests to collaborate on research, develop practice models and provide multidisciplinary participation in support of the Society’s overall mission.

The focus of the Clinical Informatics Special Interest Section supports the Society’s broader goal of improving care for patients with headache disorders. By seeking better ways of using technology and EMR for patients with these conditions, the Clinical Informatics Section works to generally improve patients’ experience, as well as workflow for headache specialists.

We spoke with Section Chair Christina L. Szperka, MD, FAHS, about the group’s ongoing work and their vision for the future.

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Name of Special Interest Section
Clinical Informatics

Name of Section Chair
Christina L. Szperka, MD, FAHS

What is the mission of your special interest section?
The goal of the Clinical Information Section is to collaborate with headache specialists to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their respective patient management tools. As clinicians, we have all been bogged down by patient documentation that we need to add to the electronic medical record, as well as various technological barriers. Our goal is to build bridges over those barriers to improve the quality of care that we deliver by identifying ways to fine-tune patient management tools for our specialty.

What are some recent projects your section has been a part of?
We developed a pre-meeting course for the 2017 Scottsdale Headache Symposium. At the symposium, we discussed various techniques to take advantage of the electronic health record, to improve care both for the individual patient as well as for patients overall. Additionally, we hosted a session on telehealth and modalities that can be used to deliver care at a distance. That was a tremendous group effort and something that we are very proud of.

We’ve also been working in tandem with the American Academy of Neurology. We took the first iteration of the headache outcome measures and built a questionnaire which can be integrated into the electronic health record.

What future goals does your special interest section have?
We would like to address how AHS members can use patient management tools that are specific to their system, and help them better serve their patients. Finally, we want to identify and develop system-wide changes to potentially impact patients that clinicians do not directly meet.

How is your section making an impact in the field of headache medicine currently?
We are able to impact headache medicine by essentially looking through the eyes of the individual clinician and what they’re doing on a day-to-day level. We then take a step back and look at it from a perspective of quality improvement. We want to help clinicians do their jobs better in a way that is feasible and straightforward, but then also learn from the information that they’re gathering on a population level.

Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of the American Headache Society, and we’re grateful to the Clinical Informatics Section for actively working to advance those goals. By working to streamline and improve electronic health record use, the members of this special interest section are ensuring that the American Headache Society and its members will remain at the forefront of emerging headache treatment technologies.

If you are an AHS member who would like to join the Clinical Informatics Special Interest Section, please contact us.

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