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New Faculty Q & A With Dr. Mark Weiner

Dr. Mark Weiner is the deputy chief information officer for health system and research analytics and an (interim) assistant professor of clinical healthcare policy and research. Previously, Dr. Weiner was the assistant dean of informatics for the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and the chief medical information officer for Temple University Health System. Board-certified in internal medicine and clinical informatics, Dr. Weiner has been an associate professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and an attending physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as the senior director of research and development informatics at AstraZeneca.

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Dr. Mark Weiner

How did you get involved in health informatics?

I have a background in computer science but had always had the goal of going to medical school and practicing medicine. I started at Penn in 1984 – was a computer science major. I went onto Penn medical school and then stayed on for an internal medicine residency. Following that, I completed a general medicine fellowship, where my proudest accomplishment was receiving an NLM-funded fellowship in applied informatics, which I also did at Penn. Through the fellowship, I began work on developing an IT infrastructure to support health services and clinical research. That got me on a track where I stayed on the faculty at Penn for many years heavily involved in research informatics initiatives including the CTSA and the FDA mini-Sentinel programs. Later, I went to Temple University, where I became the chief medical information officer and oversaw the planning of the Epic inpatient go live at our hospital. I was also the assistant dean of informatics, managing both the development of the research IT infrastructure with a special focus on the PCORI program and educational initiatives in informatics.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently most involved in Weill Cornell’s INSIGHT Clinical Research Network. We are responsible for the complex integration of clinical and administrative data from the five major health systems within NYC. My initial goal is to re-engineer the data flow from all the sites to ensure the more timely meeting of the quarterly data update deadlines. I also have a special interest in understanding and improving data quality. I think there can often be a mismatch in assumptions about data quality with actual data quality. It comes from a good place - people want to think that if the data used for clinical care, it must be perfect. However, there are a number of idiosyncrasies that investigators need to understand. I enjoy sitting across the table from an investigator, understanding what their research information needs are, and helping them match their research goal with the capabilities of available data. I look for gaps in information needs and work to improve available data to broaden its utility for research and operational goals.

What brings you to Weill Cornell Medicine?

I was looking for an environment where informatics is well-established with opportunities to collaborate with investigators with complementary expertise. My background in research informatics very much aligns with what many people do here. However, in addition to a research background, I bring clinical domain expertise. I’m not just a person who studies information technology and informatics. I’m a clinician who experiences these tools from the user perspective. I have a deep understanding of the pain points that some of these tools can evoke and try to help moderate the pain. I also have a special interest in ensuring that the data that gets collected through the routine operation of the healthcare system is organized in a manner that can be used in the generation of real-world evidence. Within the Department, I’d like to understand the faculty members’ goals and aspirations in research. I’d like to have an open-door policy – I want to hear what people are up to and interested in, and see how we can leverage IT and strategic uses of data to support their research goals.

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