Biomedical informatics guru discusses how information could transform healthcare

SPOKANE, Wash. – Michael Johnson spoke with student pharmacists on November 12 about the field of biomedical informatics and how it can improve patient health. Johnson was the final speaker of the fall semester for the Washington State University College of Pharmacy’s Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy seminar series.

The role of biomedical informatics can transform health care through the use of information, said Johnson.

“If every patient you saw had an electronic medical record you would be able to see what treatments are working or not working,” said Johnson, “you could look at what medications your patient is taking before you even see him or her.” This will equip health care professionals with the information needed to make better treatment decisions.

Johnson talked about how the sharing of records can help population health by looking at health outcomes of groups. From that information health care providers can create standards for prevention, protocol and treatment of illnesses, said Johnson.

The journey to have patient information all electronic may take some time.

“Making records all digital is where we are at right now,” said Johnson. He believes that to accomplish the goal of informatics many people will have to accept change in how they perform their job.

Johnson has been working in informatics for over five years. Johnson is physician-board certified in internal medicine and hospital medicine. He is also a Cougar alumnus and former WSU faculty member. Johnson currently works at Confluence Health in Wenatchee, Wash., as the pharmacy and therapeutics chairman and the chief medical informatics officer for inpatient services.

WSU coordinates the career seminar series to expose future pharmacists to a variety of career opportunities in the profession and the organizational leaders within those fields.

The WSU pharmacy seminars are funded through the Dean’s Fund for Excellence and the college’s community partner, the Spokane Teachers Credit Union. For information on participating in the career seminar series, or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence to help expose WSU student pharmacists to thought-leaders and industry innovators, contact the College of Pharmacy advancement office at or 509-358-7651.