MS in Biomedical Informatics
Evolution of Medical Informatics
There has been an emergence of medical informatics as a discipline due to advances in computer and communications technology and an increasing awareness of the exponential growth of biomedical knowledge. This has been accompanied by clinical information that has become unmanageable by traditional paper-based methods and the growing realization that the process of knowledge retrieval and decision making are important to modern biomedicine and clinical decision making.
Medical informatics is an interdisciplinary field based on computer and information sciences, cognitive and decision sciences, epidemiology, telecommunications, and other fields. Researchers in this evolving field discover new methods and techniques to enhance health care, biomedical research, and education through information technology. Those in the discipline study and encourage the use of appropriate information to support clinical care, research, teaching, and health services information.
Medical informatics allows physicians and other health professionals to integrate advanced information system capabilities with highly trained individuals with a clinical outlook and approach. The methods, tools, and resources developed through medical informatics often help physicians and other health professionals accomplish tasks that they were already doing, but in a more efficient, perhaps more accurate or even entirely new manner. It also allows for the performance of tasks that were not previously possible. Informational technology now provides physicians and other health professionals with the potential to possess large databases. As a result, they can now begin to think like epidemiologists in addition to being providers of patient care.
Specific areas of added value provided by medical informatics include:
- generating information from data in the form of basic statistics, ideas, or facts
- analyzing information to develop new knowledge and information
- developing action plans to use the new knowledge and to maintain a continuous quality improvement cycle
- using information and feedback to create an impact on organizational performance
- improving the quality of an academic health center’s computing and information technology environment to profoundly influence its ability to compete in education and research
- improving the ability to collaborate with other health organizations including hospitals, health departments, medical societies, and clinicians in rural and remote areas
Those who are part of the medical informatics community have the potential of being able to seriously confront many questions that need to be addressed in health care such as:
- predicting who will become sick.
- effectively intervening in preventing health complications or problems in individuals.
- making effective interventions with large populations.
- reducing adverse complications in health care.
- overcoming physician resistance to intricate systems and information technology.
- having the potential to get maximum impact from resources that are constrained.