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by Andrew Othuke Akpeli



Clinical Informatics is a sub-field of medical informatics. It focuses on computer applications that address medical data (collection, analysis, representation). Clinical informatics is a combination of information science, computer science, and clinical science designed to assist in the management and processing of data, information and knowledge to support the practice and delivery of clinical care (Shortliffe and Perreault, Medical Informatics: Computing applications in health care and biomedicine).

The field of Clinical informatics covers the following activities:

Medical Data Mining Electronic Medical Record (EMR's) Decision Support Systems Hospital Information System


Nursing Informatics is a specialty of Health care informatics which deals with the support of nursing by information systems in delivery, documentation, administration and evaluation of patient care and prevention of diseases.Various definitions of Nursing Informatics have been proposed; perhaps the most widely currently accepted definition comes from the International Medical Informatics Association - Nursing Informatics Special Interest Group adopted August 1998, Seoul, Korea: Nursing informatics is the integration of nursing, its information, and information management with information processing and communication technology, to support the health of people world wide.[1]

A more recent definition of Nursing Informatics comes from the American Nurses Association's Scope and Standards for Nursing Informatics Practice (2006): Nursing Informatics is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice.

An early (and still valid) definition was proposed by Hannah (1985): The use of information technologies in relation to any of the functions that are within the purview of nursing and are carried out by nurses in the performance of their duties. This comprises the care of patients, administration, education and research.

Other definitions also exist. For example, William Goossen, from The Netherlands, developed a longer definition:

Goossen WTF (1996). Nursing information management and processing: a framework and definition for systems analysis, design and evaluation. International Journal of Biomedical Computing, 40, 187-195.

"Nursing informatics is the multidisciplinary scientific endeavor of analyzing, formalizing and modeling how nurses collect and manage data, process data into information and knowledge, make knowledge-based decisions and inferences for patient care, and use this empirical and experiential knowledge in order to broaden the scope and enhance the quality of their professional practice. The scientific methods central to nursing informatics are focused on:

Using a discourse about motives for computerized systems, Analyzing, formalizing and modeling nursing information processing and nursing knowledge for all components of nursing practice: clinical practice, management, education and research, Investigating determinants, conditions, elements, models and processes in order to design, and implement as well as test the effectiveness and efficiency of computerized information, (tele)communication and network systems for nursing practice, and Studying the effects of these systems on nursing practice."


Consumer health informatics is a relatively new discipline and has been defined by Gunther Eysenbach as follows:

Consumer health informatics is the branch of medical informatics that analyses consumers’ needs for information; studies and implements methods of making information accessible to consumers; and models and integrates consumers’ preferences into medical information systems. (Eysenbach 2000)

Consumer health informatics (CHI) provides patients and healthy consumers with the e-health tools, skills and support they need to better manage their health decisions. Examples for CHI tools are Web sites providing self-care information, Internet-based disease management tools, telemedicine, personal health records (PHRs), online support groups, etc. In the age of the Internet, almost any health information system or communication tool has an interface for consumers.

Healthcare providers are turning to consumer health informatics to provide patients not only with health advice but with an opportunity to manage certain aspects of their condition. One of the purposes of the aforementionned PHR is to involve patients in the management of their healthcare. Meanwhile, consumers are themselves looking for resources on the Internet or even starting their own.


Public Health Informatics has been defined as the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and learning.

It is one of the subdomains of (bio)medical or health informatics.

In the same way that Public Health as a distinct field relates to healthcare generally, public health informatics is distinguished from healthcare informatics by emphasizing data about populations rather than that of individuals. The activities of public health informatics can be broadly divided into the collection, storage, and analysis of data of interest to the various activities of public health


Dental informatics is the application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, education and management. During the last forty years it has developed into a research discipline of significant scale and scope. It can be considered a subset of medical informatics and biomedical informatics.

It is the understanding, skills and tools that enable the sharing and use of information to promote oral health and improve dental practice, research, education and management. It encompasses electronic health records, CAD/CAM technology, diagnostic digital imaging and administrative information for all dentistry disciplines.


Clinical Research Informatics (CRI) is the sub-domain of Biomedical informatics or Medical Informatics concerned with the application of informatics theory and methods to design, conduct and improve clinical research and disseminate the knowledge gained. It overlaps considerably with the related rapidly developing domain of Translational Research Informatics.

Clinical research is defined by the National Institutes of Health [1] as being comprised of studies and trials in human subjects that fall into the three sub-categories:

(1) Patient-oriented research. Research conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator (or colleague) directly interacts with human subjects. Patient-oriented researchincludes: (a) mechanisms of human disease, (b) therapeutic interventions, (c) clinical trials, or (d) development of new technologies.(2) Epidemiologic and behavioral studies.(3) Outcomes research and health services research.


Bioinformatics and computational biology involve the use of techniques including applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, chemistry, and biochemistry to solve biological problems usually on the molecular level. Research in computational biology often overlaps with systems biology. Major research efforts in the field include sequence alignment, gene finding, genome assembly, protein structure alignment, protein structure prediction, prediction of gene expression and protein-protein interactions, and the modeling of evolution.


Veterinary informatics applies information technology to healthcare. Veterinary informatics and the larger field of medical informatics is often called health care informatics or biomedical informatics, and forms part of the wider domain of eHealth. These later-generation terms reflect the substantive contribution of the citizen & non-medical professions to the generation and usage of healthcare data and related information. Additionally, medical informaticians are active in bioinformatics and other fields not strictly defined as health care.These include:

I. architectures for electronic medical records and other health information systems used for billing, scheduling or research. II. decision support systems in healthcare III. messaging standards for the exchange of information between health care information systems (e.g. through the use of the HL7 data exchange standard) - these specifically define the means to exchange data, not the content IV. controlled medical vocabularies such as the Standardized Nomenclature of Medicine, Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT) or Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) - used to allow a standard, accurate exchange of data content between systems and providers. V. use of hand-held or portable devices to assist providers with data entry/retrieval or medical decision-makingHISTORY: Medical informatics began in the 1950s with the rise of usable computation devices, computers.

Early names for medical informatics included medical computing, medical computer science, computer medicine, medical electronic data processing, medical automatic data processing, medical information processing, medical information science, medical software engineering and medical computer technology.

The earliest use of computation for veterinary medicine was ...


Pharmacy informatics (PIX), also referred to as pharmacoinformatics, is the application of computers to the storage, retrieval and analysis of drug information. PIX systems help the pharmacist manage information including but not limited to medical insurance records of patients, drug interaction data, as well as prescription data.

Pharmacy informatics is the study of interactions between natural and engineered systems within health care with a focus on pharmaceutical care and improved patient safety.

IMAGING INFORMATICS is also a branch.


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