Faculty Profile

  • David Liebovitz, M.D.

    Before medical school David Liebovitz majored in electrical engineering. He’s made good use of that hybrid background as chief medical informatics officer for the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, medical director for clinical information systems at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and faculty director of the MMI program at SCS. He also sees patients in his clinical practice in internal medicine, supervises residents and conducts research on the use of electronic information systems.

    How can medical informatics revolutionize patient care? 

    Let’s say a physician sees a new patient who’s already received five or six diagnoses and is on nine different medications. It’s beyond the ability of any physician to manage that much information during a 20-minute visit. Medical informatics facilitates and guides medical decision making, increasing the probability of safe and effective care. Tens of thousands of people die from medical errors every year; those are largely system errors that could be significantly reduced with proper management of medical information. 

    Are there other advantages? 

    Medical informatics improves communication and acts as a bridge between patients and physicians. In my own practice, patients have online access to some of their records, including lab results with my comments. Information can empower patients and encourage them to participate in their care. Medical informatics also saves money — potentially billions of dollars annually. 

    How does the MMI program work? 

    MMI students follow one of two tracks, depending on whether their backgrounds are in health care or in computing and information technology. The program helps students leverage their backgrounds to understand both sides of the equation. 

    How do MMI students benefit from the program? 

    There’s an enormous need for a skilled workforce in medical informatics. The time and effort spent in the MMI program should pay off in expanded opportunities for Northwestern graduates.