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Medical Health Informatics

medical health informatics

What is medical health informatics?

The term itself is very broad since there are so many applications done within the field. One of the definitions of medical health informatics is that it is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the collection, organization and use of healthcare data.  The term ‘medical health informatics’ is a subset of the an even broader field known as ‘health informatics’. This field combines knowledge of computer and medical science to gain insight about public health, or an individual patient’s health.

Why health informatics?

With increasing amounts of patient medical data, it’s time to move away from the traditional paper health record.  Using computers to collect, store, and analyze health data can allow individuals and healthcare providers to make better decisions.  A health informatician bridges the gap between medical and computational expertise.  There is a high demand for health informaticians as many components of the medical industry begin to use computers to solve their problems.

History

Health informatics is a relatively new field that originally began in the early 1950s when the medical industry began utilizing computer technology.  Training and educational programs for this discipline began developing in the 1960-1970s and have advanced substantially to reflect the technology and quality of care delivered today. Often called medical informatics in the United States, many institutions globally now recognize it as an important area of study, especially as it develops into a mature profession.  Recently, the popularity of the field has begun growing rapidly due the vast increase in available patient medical data (genetic, behavioural, imaging, etc.) and its need to be organized, stored, and interpreted.

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