What is Medical or Biomedical or Health Informatics ?

“The rational study of the way we think about patients, and the way that treatments are defined, selected and evolved. It is the study of how medical knowledge is created, shaped, shared and applied. *

Depending on the region is synonymous with health care informatics, healthcare informaticsnursing informatics, clinical informatics, or biomedical informatics.

The discipline is at the intersection of information science and medicine. It deals with the data, resources, devices and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, analysis, retrieval and use of information in health and biomedicine.

It also includes clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, information and communication systems, and elearning. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, occupational therapy, and medical research and education.

Many confuse medical informatics with the mere application of computers or IT (information technology). We use IT as one of our tools, as any other profession (ex.  lawyer or an engineer). Informatics is a research discipline about information, not computers. Computers are used along the way as any other tool. Computers are just equipment.

Subdomains of biomedical informatics include: clinical informatics, nursing informatics, consumer health informatics, public health informatics, clinical research informatics, pharmacy informatics, bioinformatics, imaging informatics, dental informatics and to some extent biomedical engineering

The methods used come from information science, computer science, cognitive science, statistics, graphics, engineering, business analysis,  telecommunications, etc. Eventually, innovations in the informatics field are translated into computer programs or devices, and that is where informatics uses information technology.

Examples of topics in medical informatics: digital imaging and image processing, medical records, clinical decision support, telemedicine, web based elearning, simulations and visualizations, signal analysis.

The international standards are covered by ICS 35.240.80 in which ISO 27799:2008 is one of the core components

A Brief History of Biomedical Informatics as a Discipline — New York University brief history of biomedical informatics link

* E. Coiera. The Guide to Health Informatics (2nd Edition). Arnold, London, October 2003.