This is an introductory elective in medical informatics for students who already have some experience with the application of computers and information systems, i.e., experience with computing in clinical medicine or biomedical research.
The four to eight week sessions of the elective include an extensive lecture series offering an overview of the state-of-the-art in medical informatics. The lectures are presented by research staff from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and other institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by guest speakers from other research centers. The lectures cover a number of topics including medical informatics applications on the World Wide Web; telemedicine; the Unified Medical Language System; the Visible Human project; medical expert systems; information management for biotechnology research; image analysis, manipulation, and retrieval; machine learning in the biomedical domain; and medical language processing. The NLM's Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications offers students an outstanding hardware and software environment for system development.
The course takes full advantage of a unique set of resources at the NLM and throughout the NIH:
- The NLM is the world's largest research library in a single professional and scientific field and an international focal point for medical informatics research. NLM's two research and development divisions mount extensive in-house research programs addressing major informatics issues. NLM provides the MEDLARS family of on-line files (20 million records in more than 40 files) through the Internet and 21 international MEDLARS centers. Hundreds of thousands of individuals perform more than 190 million searches on NLM's systems each year.
- The Clinical Center has built on commercially available mainframe hospital information system software by adding advanced hardware and software interfaces developed in-house for personal workstation front ends.
- The NIH Center for Information Technology (CIT) has computer scientists, electronic engineers, and doctoral-level professionals in mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, medicine, and linguistics actively involved in a number of research and support areas.
- The clinical services and research arms of other institutes and centers of NIH have developed unusual informatics applications in their fields.
- Automated indexing and information retrieval
- Biomedical knowledge discovery
- Clinical informatics research
- Consumer health informatics
- Database design
- Digital library research
- Disaster management systems
- Electronic health records research
- Image processing research
- Medical language processing
- Medical vocabulary and standards research
- Wireless computing for medical applications