What is Biomedical & Health Informatics?

November 9, 2011
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William Hersh, MD
Professor and Chair
Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology
Oregon Health & Science University


William Hersh, MD
Professor and Chair
Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology
Oregon Health & Science University

Blog: Informatics Professor

Years ago, I used to get asked on a regular basis, What is Medical/Biomedical/Health Informatics? To answer this question, I created a Web site that attempted to answer it. Later on, I added some voice-over-Powerpoint lectures, which also provided me the opportunity to demonstrate the technologies we use in our distance learning program at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

Keeping a site like this up to date is no small feat, especially at a time like this, when many people in the field are very busy carrying out work related to the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health (HITECH) Act. For this reason, the site had grown out of date, with its last major update in 2009, when the HITECH Act had just been passed. I am pleased to announce that I have now updated the  lecture and references on the site to include not only everything related to HITECH, but also advances in other areas of biomedical and health informatics, including bioinformatics, information retrieval, and telemedicine.

The site still includes voice-over-Powerpoint lectures, which have now expanded to about 2 hours and 40 minutes, and are still divided into seven segments. On almost every slide, I could go into even more detail. If nothing else, this site will hopefully whet peoples’ appetites for the 10×10 program, the OHSU graduate program, or other programs.

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The educational methods I use on this site mirror my on-line teaching. I have always found great value in voice-over-Powerpoint lectures, especially using the Articulate tool that provides the slides and sound in Flash format and also allows easy navigation among the slides. I also provide MP3 files of the slide audio (one MP3 per segment) as well as PDF files of the slides themselves (one PDF per segment). In addition, I provide another PDF that has references to all of the papers, reports, books, and other citations in the lecture. The site also contains a list of key textbooks as well as links to some of my papers and to important organizations and other sites for the field.

I look forward to receiving feedback from people and take full responsibility for any errors in any of the materials I have produced.