I had gotten into some interesting conversations about this topic, so I decided to look at Wikipedia, and here's what I found:
Health informatics, Health care informatics or medical informatics is the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care. It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health and (bio)medical research.Wow, this is an extremely broad definition, isn't it? Some people only think of electronic health records (EHRs) or electronic medical records (EMRs) when they hear the phrase "medical informatics." Others focus on inpatient uses of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and we often lose focus on the broader concept associated with informatics.
The AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association) defines informatics this way:
Biomedical and health informatics applies principles of computer and information science to the advancement of life sciences research, health professions education, public health, and patient care. This multidisciplinary and integrative field focuses on health information and communication technologies (HICT), and involves the computer, cognitive, and social sciences. Biomedical and health informatics has developed its own areas of emphasis and approaches that sets it apart from other professions and disciplines.So, how do you define health informatics?
Biomedical and health informatics is an emerging, interdisciplinary and diverse field that:
- Combines health sciences (such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and allied health) with computer science, management and decision science, biostatistics, engineering and information technology.
- Solves problems in health care delivery, pharmaceutical, biomedical and health sciences research, health education and clinical/medical decision making.
- Is essential in all aspects of health care and biomedicine.