Thursday, May 26, 2016

Incorporation of Health Informatics in the curriculum for Healthcare Professionals

The art and science of processing “information” is informatics, where “information” is the processed “data” (anything that is observed and recorded). Just as we get information by “data processing”, using informatics tools, we condense information into “knowledge” that can be applied to real life situations.
When the informatics tools are applied to the “biomedical” field, it is called “biomedical informatics” which is a very broad term encompassing the study and application of computer science, information science, informatics, cognitive science and human-computer interaction in the practice of biological research, biomedical science, medicine and healthcare. Other fields, including bioinformatics (proteomics, genomics, and drug design), clinical informatics (including clinical research informatics), public health informatics and medical informatics (including imaging informatics, nursing informatics, dental informatics, pharmacy informatics, consumer health informatics, healthcare management informatics and veterinary informatics) are commonly counted as sub-domains within biomedical informatics.
Health or Healthcare informatics is an alternative term that has been defined: “If physiology literally means ‘the logic of life’, and pathology is ‘the logic of disease’, then health informatics is the logic of healthcare. It is 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 clinical knowledge is created, shaped, shared and applied. Ultimately, it is the study of how we organize ourselves to create and run healthcare organizations.”It deals with the resources, devices, and methods necessary for optimizing the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and optimal use of information in health and biomedicine. The health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication technology (ICT).
Biomedical / Health Informatics can be applied to diagnostic procedures, imaging, decision-support systems, patient records, financial and administrative systems, educational systems (for healthcare delivery students, practicing professionals and patients), patient monitoring (e.g., anaesthesia control), and accessing health knowledge.
The National eHealth Authority is in the process of being set up through an Act of Parliament. Under such circumstances, for the smooth adoption of eHealth throughout Digital India, there would be a tremendous requirement for formally trained health informatics professionals in India very soon. It will be prudent to incorporate health informatics as a part and also as a speciality for healthcare professionals in India. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified Standards for Electronic Health Records since August 2013 and India has been a country member of IHTSDO that develops and maintains a terminology standards SNOMED-CT. It is essential to make healthcare professionals at all levels aware of such initiatives and adopt standards for health information exchange.
In the USA, all ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) member boards have agreed to allow their diplomates to take the clinical informatics subspecialty examination if they are otherwise eligible. The ABPM (American Board of Preventive Medicine) website provides information about eligibility for the exam and online application.Certification in Clinical Informatics is a joint and equal function of the ABP (American Board of Pathology) and the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM).
CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, offers PHIFP (Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program) as a 2-year, competency-based training program in public health informatics. The fellowship provides a problem-based learning environment in which fellows apply information and computer sciences and information technology to solve public health problems.
They have the opportunity to:
·         learn about informatics and public health in an applied setting
·         work with teams involved in research and development of public health information systems
·         lead an informatics project
·         design, develop, implement, evaluate, and manage public health information systems
1.       Sarbadhikari SN, Medical Informatics: A Key Tool to Support Clinical Research and Evidence-based Medical Practice (Ch 15), In, Babu AN, Ed, Clinical Research Methodology and Evidence-based Medicine, 2nd Ed, 2015: 179-191.
2.       Abdel-Hamid T, Ankel F,…Sarbadhikari SN, et al, Public and health professionals’ misconceptions about the dynamics of body weight gain/loss, Syst. Dyn. Rev. 30, 2014: 58–74
3.       Ahmed Z, Sarbadhikari SN, et al., Using online social networks for increasing health literacy on oral health, Intl. J User Driven Health, 2013, 3: 51-58.
4.       Karishma SH,…, and Sarbadhikari SN, Creating Awareness for Using a Wiki to Promote Collaborative Health Professional Education, Intl. J User Driven Health, 2012, 2:18-28.
5.       Sarbadhikari SN, Unlearning and relearning in online health education, (Ch 21) In, Biswas R, and Martin C M, Ed, User Driven Healthcare and Narrative Medicine, IGI Global, Hershey, USA, 2011: 294 – 309.
6.       Sarbadhikari SN, How to Make Healthcare Delivery in India More “Informed”, Education for Health, Volume 23(2), August 2010: 456.
7.       Sarbadhikari SN and Gogia SB, An Overview of Education and Training of Medical Informatics in India, IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 2010: 106-108.
8.       Sarbadhikari SN, Applying health care informatics to improve student learning, Really Good Stuff, Medical Education, 2008; 42: 1117–1118.
9.       Sarbadhikari SN, How to design an effective e-learning course for medical education, Indian Journal of Medical Informatics. 2008; 3(1): 3:
10.    Sarbadhikari SN, The State of Medical Informatics in India: A Roadmap for optimal organization, J. Medical Systems, 2005, 29: 125-141.
11.    Sarbadhikari SN, Basic Medical Education must include Medical Informatics, Indian J Physiol. Pharamcol., 2004, 48(4): 395-408.
12.    Sarbadhikari SN, Guest Editorial on “Medical Informatics — Are the Doctors Ready?”,J.Indian Med. Assoc. , 1995, 93: 165 – 166.
13.     Mantas J,et al, Recommendations of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) on Education in Biomedical and Health Informatics - 1stRevision, IMIA, 2009
14.     Burnette MH, De Groote SL, Dorsch JL. Medical informatics in the curriculum: development and delivery of an online elective. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA. 2012;100(1):61-63. doi:10.3163/1536-5050.100.1.011.
16.     NHP, EHR Standards helpdesk:
18.    American Academy of Family Physicians, Recommended Curriculum Guidelines for Family Medicine Residents on Medical Informatics:
19.    AMIA, ABPM, ABP, Clinical Informatics Subspecialty Board Examination:
20. CDC, Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program:

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