Courtesy of the STA

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Executive summary

  1. Review core content
  2. Read the Shortliffe and Cimino textbook "Biomedical Informatics"
  3. Look into the AMIA review course and practice exams
  4. Consider a board review book; 1) Clinical Informatics Board Review (Reston and Pope) or 2) Clinical Informatics Study Guide: Text and Review (Finnell and Dixon)


1. Core Content and Textbooks

The ABPM has general information about the test and an outline of test content

The outline of test content mentions several textbooks. It should be noted that some of these textbooks (e.g. Shortliffe and Cimino, Greenes) have newer editions than those listed even though the date on the outline is March 2015. Many exam-takers mention the Shortliffe and Cimino book to be the most useful.  Health Informatics by Hoyt has also been mentioned, although it is not on this list. Shortliffe and Cimino is the “bible” of the specialty like Harrison’s in Internal Medicine or Miller in Anesthesia so you probably want it on your shelf anyway.

The Distribution of Questions is Listed As:

  1. Fundamentals 10%
  2. Clinical Decision Making and Care Process Improvement 30%
  3. Health Information Systems 40%
  4. Leading and Managing Change 20%

AMIA has the “core content” in more complete form

Some have found reviewing that content and looking up specific topics in Google/Wikipedia to be useful.

AMIA lists the “core competencies of biomedical informatics”. These are a little more general and don’t translate quite as easily into study topics.

2. Review Courses, Practice Exams, and Books

At present, only AMIA offers a review course called CIBRC, available in both an online and in person version

The CIBRC Test product includes a simulated board exam and practice tests.  The CIBRC Online Plus includes audio/video learning content plus tests.  The CIBRC Live course is held August 5-7 in Providence, RI or September 9-11 in Denver, CO.  There is a discount for members of AMIA.

Many exam-takers said they did one or the other, with a slight preference for the online course. Many also expressed the utility of the practice exams. It has been claimed that over 90% of the exam takers have taken either the in-person or online versions of this course.

Two specific “board review” books exist:

Clinical Informatics Board Review (Reston and Pope)

Clinical Informatics Study Guide: Text and Review (Finnell and Dixon)

3. Other Resources

AMIA study tips

Found via Google search:

Finally, please feel free to ask the members of the STA taskforce (below.)  Some of us have recently passed, and some of us are taking it this cycle.

Anecdotally, the exam appears to be changing somewhat even though it has only been offered three times. Historically, there have been actual coding questions, although these are still relatively few. Some exam takers who have worked in the CMIO-type role stated many of the questions were answerable based on personal experience alone, but obviously YMMV.


STA Clinical Informatics Taskforce

Karl Poterack, MD
Patrick McCormick, MD
Mark Poler, MD
Mohamed Rehman, MD
Brian Rothman, MD