Medical Informatics

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by An Yong, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. An Yong

    An Yong Senior Member

    Sep 13, 2002
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    Can anyone explain what this is exactly? Also, Does anyone know where I can get some information in this area? Someone has recently mentioned it might be a good area for me to look into due to my CS major. Also, anyone know of any MD/Medical informatics programs out there?

    Thank You
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  3. abw

    abw Senior Member

    Sep 20, 2002
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    Hey! from what i understand medical informatics is sort of like the communications network via computer. it's how anyone in the health professions accesses and stores info, the hierarchy of the communications chain and how to effectively ensure health information can get to the whole nation/where it is needed as quickly as possible. The only places I've seen it are in one osteopathic school (but it was simplified to the point of classes like "how to send an email") and in my public health program - but it's only a week certification course there. i'm sure there's more out there because its supposed to be this newly emerging important field, but bc it's so new, there's probably not too much
  4. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

    Jan 3, 2002
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    I just saw on the OHSU website that they have a medical informatics program.
  5. eschauberger

    eschauberger Some Guy

    Sep 15, 2002
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    I did some Medical Informatics research two years ago. It is sort-of like Bioinformatics--applying Computers to Biology except of course it is for managing information for Medicine. They work on developing computer tools to aid Physicians and Medical Staff. When I did my research I was basically collecting information regarding Adverse Drug Events and other medication errors in an attempt to develop a surveillance system to retrospectively chart how many errors (misdoses, drug interactions,etc. ) were made. It was pretty cool, and though what I did was meaningful, developing a tool like this is expensive, and I was working for free, so we would have needed a grant. I actually wish I would have worked some more on it so it would have been publishable--because it was very good work (I have the Powerpoint from the presentation I made to the Administration if you want to see what this type of stuff is).
    I don't think there are many MD/Medical Informatics Program. When I was in Milwaukee at MCOW over the summer I saw that they had a grad program in Medical Informatics (with their grad school--not medical school) there with an engineering school in Milwaukee (they seem to do a lot of those with Marquette too).
    It's an emerging field, and is only going to get bigger (GOOD MARKET TO GET INTO) It also allows a lot of cross over with Bioinformatics type stuff. If you are good at PERL and that type of stuff, then this is a good place for you.
  6. gobruins

    gobruins Member

    Apr 28, 2002
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    There's a number of schools offering training in Medical Informatics (MI) across the U.S. These include Stanford, OHSU, Pittsburg, Columbia, UAB, etc.

    Different schools have different requirements. Some will take bachelor's degrees, others require professional degrees like M.D., D.D.S., registered nurse, etc.

    Different schools offer different training courses. Some have Ph.D. programs, masters, certification, etc.

    But wait, there's more.

    Different schools have different opinions on what constitutes Medical Informatics. Therefore each program will emphasize different areas of the larger MI field. Example, last I checked, UAB's program focused on turning out Chief Information Officers (CIOs). This could have changed since the technology economy downturn or I could have just misinterpreted their mission. You'll see a wide diversity of program emphasis.

    On a personal note, some aspects I've seen covered in the MI field are:

    Computer programming: Mostly because the medical field has become dependent on technology. Very helpful to understand the CS part of it. Nice that you have a CS background.

    Organizational behavior: Key part. Doctors are people. Patients are people. All healthcare professionals are people. Lump them into a group and you start seeing behavior patterns like any other business. Helps in understanding why certain phenomena occur. Ex: why we don't have a robust computerized patient record and still resort to paper. Why Physician Order Entry (POE) is still hard to implement.

    Bioinformatics: Most people seem to already know about this area. It sometimes falls under the Medical Informatics umbrella.

    Information Science: Medicine is information intensive so it helps to understand what constitutes information so that you can manipulate it. Something interesting I learned in regards to medical literature publishing is that there's a pattern of publishing only the positive results (people like to see articles on Drug X curing Disease Y, not Drug A failing to cure Disease B). This leads to a bias in the information that's covered by medical literature. Since most articles cite previous published work, you can see there's ramifications for future research.

    Sorry for the long blah blah. Hope it helps or is somewhat interesting.

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