Christopher Chute is a physician-scientist and biomedical informatician known for biomedical terminologies and health information technology standards. In particular, he pioneered the use of electronic medical records in genetic research.
His career has focused on how we can represent clinical information to support analyses and inferencing, including comparative effectiveness analyses, decision support, best evidence discovery, and translational research. He has had a deep interest in semantic consistency, harmonized information models, and ontology.
Now a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and the Chief Health Research Information Officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Chute began his career as a curious medical student who realized that “much of what they were teaching us was folklore and anecdote.” He had never heard the term “evidence-driven,” but he knew that’s what the practice of medicine should be.
His search led him to the fields of epidemiology and statistics, where he learned how to crunch data to prove medical efficacy but discovered “there was no data” that was comparable and consistent enough to yield reliable results. “Getting an answer is easy once you have the data. The hard part is getting the data right,” says Chute, who self-trained to become an informatics expert and made “comparability and consistency” the mantra of his career.
With the experience he gained at the Mayo Clinic (and from “just about every health care standards organization ever known”), Chute is looking at what else Hopkins will need—in addition to the new EPIC electronic medical records system—to manage its clinical data as a first-rank, top-priority resource that makes evidence-based clinical practice and translational research possible.
“I’m here to catalyze a process that is already underway,” explains Chute, who says he was struck by how many Hopkins investigators are working with outside institutions for their outcomes research “because clinical data hasn’t been a first-rank resource at Hopkins. But that’s changing radically.”
Before joining Hopkins in January 2015, Chute was the founding chair of Biomedical Informatics, Professor of Medical Informatics, and Section Head at the Mayo Clinic. He served as Chair of the Mayo Clinic Data Governance Committee, and on Mayo’s enterprise IT Oversight Committee. He currently chairs the World Health Organization Revision Steering Group for the revision of the International Classification of Diseases.
He has also served as Chair of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Health Informatics Technical Committee (ISO/TC 215), on the Health Information Technology Standards Committee for the Office of the National Coordinator in the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Health Level 7 Advisory Council. A few of his recently held positions include Chair of the Biomedical Computing and Health Informatics study section at the NIH, Chair of the Board of the HL7/FDA/NCI/CDISC BRIDG project, and a board member of the American Medical Informatics Association Board member.
Chute received his undergraduate and medical training at Brown University, internal medicine residency at Dartmouth, and doctoral training in Epidemiology at Harvard. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Epidemiology, and the American College of Medical Informatics.