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1.  Crossing the Chasm: Information Technology to Biomedical Informatics 
Accelerating the translation of new scientific discoveries to improve human health and disease management is the overall goal of a series of initiatives integrated in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Roadmap for Medical Research.” The Clinical and Translational Research Award (CTSA) program is, arguably, the most visible component of the NIH Roadmap providing resources to institutions to transform their clinical and translational research enterprises along the goals of the Roadmap. The CTSA program emphasizes biomedical informatics as a critical component for the accomplishment of the NIH’s translational objectives. To be optimally effective, emerging biomedical informatics programs must link with the information technology (IT) platforms of the enterprise clinical operations within academic health centers.
This report details one academic health center’s transdisciplinary initiative to create an integrated academic discipline of biomedical informatics through the development of its infrastructure for clinical and translational science infrastructure and response to the CTSA mechanism. This approach required a detailed informatics strategy to accomplish these goals. This transdisciplinary initiative was the impetus for creation of a specialized biomedical informatics core, the Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBI). Development of the CBI codified the need to incorporate medical informatics including quality and safety informatics and enterprise clinical information systems within the CBI. This paper describes the steps taken to develop the biomedical informatics infrastructure, its integration with clinical systems at one academic health center, successes achieved, and barriers encountered during these efforts.
doi:10.231/JIM.0b013e31821452bf
PMCID: PMC3137749  PMID: 21383632
CTSA; information technology clinical and translational research; biomedical informatics
2.  Creating a pipeline of talent for informatics: STEM initiative for high school students in computer science, biology, and biomedical informatics 
This editorial provides insights into how informatics can attract highly trained students by involving them in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) training at the high school level and continuing to provide mentorship and research opportunities through the formative years of their education. Our central premise is that the trajectory necessary to be expert in the emergent fields in front of them requires acceleration at an early time point. Both pathology (and biomedical) informatics are new disciplines which would benefit from involvement by students at an early stage of their education. In 2009, Michael T Lotze MD, Kirsten Livesey (then a medical student, now a medical resident at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)), Richard Hersheberger, PhD (Currently, Dean at Roswell Park), and Megan Seippel, MS (the administrator) launched the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Summer Academy to bring high school students for an 8 week summer academy focused on Cancer Biology. Initially, pathology and biomedical informatics were involved only in the classroom component of the UPCI Summer Academy. In 2011, due to popular interest, an informatics track called Computer Science, Biology and Biomedical Informatics (CoSBBI) was launched. CoSBBI currently acts as a feeder program for the undergraduate degree program in bioinformatics at the University of Pittsburgh, which is a joint degree offered by the Departments of Biology and Computer Science. We believe training in bioinformatics is the best foundation for students interested in future careers in pathology informatics or biomedical informatics. We describe our approach to the recruitment, training and research mentoring of high school students to create a pipeline of exceptionally well-trained applicants for both the disciplines of pathology informatics and biomedical informatics. We emphasize here how mentoring of high school students in pathology informatics and biomedical informatics will be critical to assuring their success as leaders in the era of big data and personalized medicine.
doi:10.4103/2153-3539.129448
PMCID: PMC4030307  PMID: 24860688
Bioinformatics; education; medical informatics; science; technology; engineering; and math education
3.  Health Care Transformation Through Collaboration on Open-Source Informatics Projects: Integrating a Medical Applications Platform, Research Data Repository, and Patient Summarization 
Background
The Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program seeks to conquer well-understood challenges in medical informatics through breakthrough research. Two SHARP centers have found alignment in their methodological needs: (1) members of the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision-making (NCCD) have developed knowledge bases to support problem-oriented summarizations of patient data, and (2) Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies (SMART), which is a platform for reusable medical apps that can run on participating platforms connected to various electronic health records (EHR). Combining the work of these two centers will ensure wide dissemination of new methods for synthesized views of patient data. Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) is an NIH-funded clinical research data repository platform in use at over 100 sites worldwide. By also working with a co-occurring initiative to SMART-enabling i2b2, we can confidently write one app that can be used extremely broadly.
Objective
Our goal was to facilitate development of intuitive, problem-oriented views of the patient record using NCCD knowledge bases that would run in any EHR. To do this, we developed a collaboration between the two SHARPs and an NIH center, i2b2.
Methods
First, we implemented collaborative tools to connect researchers at three institutions. Next, we developed a patient summarization app using the SMART platform and a previously validated NCCD problem-medication linkage knowledge base derived from the National Drug File-Reference Terminology (NDF-RT). Finally, to SMART-enable i2b2, we implemented two new Web service “cells” that expose the SMART application programming interface (API), and we made changes to the Web interface of i2b2 to host a “carousel” of SMART apps.
Results
We deployed our SMART-based, NDF-RT-derived patient summarization app in this SMART-i2b2 container. It displays a problem-oriented view of medications and presents a line-graph display of laboratory results.
Conclusions
This summarization app can be run in any EHR environment that either supports SMART or runs SMART-enabled i2b2. This i2b2 “clinical bridge” demonstrates a pathway for reusable app development that does not require EHR vendors to immediately adopt the SMART API. Apps can be developed in SMART and run by clinicians in the i2b2 repository, reusing clinical data extracted from EHRs. This may encourage the adoption of SMART by supporting SMART app development until EHRs adopt the platform. It also allows a new variety of clinical SMART apps, fueled by the broad aggregation of data types available in research repositories. The app (including its knowledge base) and SMART-i2b2 are open-source and freely available for download.
doi:10.2196/ijmr.2454
PMCID: PMC3668611  PMID: 23722634
clinical information systems; medical informatics; knowledge bases; user-computer interface; data display; diffusion of innovation
4.  Medical Informatics Education at Medical Faculty of Sarajevo University - 15 Years Experience 
Acta Informatica Medica  2008;16(1):4-9.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: NONE DECLARED
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Medical informatics has been a separate subject for the last 15 years with regard to Medical curriculum at the biomedical faculties in the country (1,2). Education in the field of Medical informatics is based on the concept which is used in developed countries, according to the recommendations of the working groups EDU – Education of Medical Informatics, of the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) and International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). Theoretical and practical teaching and training performance as a whole is performed by use of the computer equipment, and the final knowledge check of the students is also performed using the Data Base Management System MS Access specifically designed to cover full teaching and training material by using question sets in the data base which encircled nearly 1500 question combinations. The distance learning is logical step that can further improve this method of education. In this paper, authors present 15 years of experience of Medical informatics education at biomedical faculties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Medical Informatics, as an obligatory subject, was introduced to the biomedical faculties in Sarajevo (medical, dental and pharmaceutical as well as the High medical school) in 1992 and 1993. Students have practical computer exercises for a period of 7 weeks. Students had training in Excel, Word etc. During the semester, the students perform specific operation such as creation of data carrier for manipulation with medical information. The information was analyzed by statistical program such as Excel. From 2002 years Medical Informatics is divided in two parts in order to facilitate data processing and other procedure that are necessary to perform at time when student’s knowledge of medicine is sufficient for practicing specific tasks that include management the data about patient, anamnesis and similar parameters cause we noticed that students without such knowledge cannot figure out the whole picture without difficulties. The Theoretical part of examination is done using the multiple choice answer form provided by special software with randomly selected questions for each student. Such way of practical and theoretical path of final exam make possible to perform such procedures such as electronic registration for exam and distance testing. Possibilities of introduction of distance learning in medical curriculum are the title of project which has been realizing at Cathedra for medical Informatics, Medical faculty since year 2002. Our undergraduate and postgraduate students are satisfied with contents and organization of the teaching process.
doi:10.5455/aim.2008.16.4-9
PMCID: PMC3789160  PMID: 24109152
Medical informatics; education; distance learning
5.  A hypergraphic model of medical informatics: curriculum development guide. 
Medical informatics, as a descriptive, scientific study, must be mathematically or theoretically described. Is it important to define a model for medical informatics? The answer is worth pursuing. The medical informatics profession stands to benefit three-fold: first, by clarifying the vagueness of the definition of medical informatics, secondly, by identifying the scope and content for educational programs, and, thirdly, by defining career opportunities for its graduates. Existing medical informatics curricula are not comparable. Consequently, the knowledge and skills of graduates from these programs are difficult to assess. The challenge is to promote academics that develops graduates for prospective employers to fulfill the criteria of the health care industry and, simultaneously, compete with computer science programs that produce information technology graduates. In order to meet this challenge, medical informatics programs must have unique curricula that distinguishes its graduates. The solution is to educate students in a comparable manner across the domain of medical informatics. This paper discusses a theoretical model for medical informatics.
Images
PMCID: PMC2232680  PMID: 10566316
6.  Gaps in the Existing Public Health Informatics Training Programs: A Challenge to the Development of a Skilled Global Workforce 
The objective of this study was to explore public health informatics (PHI) training programs that currently exist to meet the growing demand for a trained global workforce. We used several search engines, scientific databases, and the websites of informatics organizations; sources included PubMed, Google, the American Medical Informatics Organization, and the International Medical Informatics Organization. The search was conducted from May to July 2011 and from January to February 2012 using key words such as informatics, public health informatics, or biomedical informatics along with academic programs, training, certificate, graduate programs, or postgraduate programs. Course titles and catalog descriptions were gathered from the program or institution websites. Variables included PHI program categories, location and mode of delivery, program credits, and costs. Each course was then categorized based on its title and description as available on the Internet. Finally, we matched course titles and descriptions with the competencies for PHIs determined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Descriptive analysis was performed to report means and frequency distributions for continuous and categorical variables. Stratified analysis was performed to explore average credits and cost per credit among both the public and private institutions. Fifteen PHI programs were identified across 13 different institutions, the majority of which were US-based. The average number of credits and the associated costs required to obtain PHI training were much higher in private as compared to public institutions. The study results suggest that a need for online contextual and cost-effective PHI training programs exists to address the growing needs of professionals worldwide who are using technology to improve public health in their respective countries.
PMCID: PMC3510646  PMID: 23209452
public health informatics; training; global workforce
7.  A Health Department’s Collaborative Model for Disease Surveillance Capacity Building 
Objective
Highlight one academic health department’s unique approach to optimizing collaborative opportunities for capacity development and document the implications for chronic disease surveillance and population health.
Introduction
Public Health departments are increasingly called upon to be innovative in quality service delivery under a dwindling resource climate as highlighted in several publications of the Institute of Medicine. Collaboration with other entities in the delivery of core public health services has emerged as a recurring theme. One model of this collaboration is an academic health department: a formal affiliation between a health professions school and a local health department. Initially targeted at workforce development, this model of collaboration has since yielded dividends in other core public health service areas including community assessment, program evaluation, community-based participatory research and data analysis.
The Duval County Health Department (DCHD), Florida, presents a unique community-centered model of the academic health department. Prominence in local informatics infrastructure capacity building and hosting a CDC-CSTE applied public health informatics fellowship (APHIF) in the Institute for Public Health Informatics and Research (IPHIR) in partnership with the Center for Health Equity Research, University of Florida & Shands medical center are direct dividends of this collaborative model.
Methods
We examined the collaborative efforts of the DCHD and present the unique advantages these have brought in the areas of entrenched data-driven public health service culture, community assessments, program evaluation, community-based participatory research and health informatics projects.
Results
Advantages of the model include a data-driven culture with the balanced scorecard model in leadership and sub-departmental emphases on quality assurance in public health services. Activities in IPHIR include data-driven approaches to program planning and grant developments, program evaluations, data analyses and impact assessments for the DCHD and other community health stakeholders.
Reports developed by IPHIR have impacted policy formulation by highlighting the need for sub county level data differentiation to address health disparities. Unique community-based mapping of Duval County into health zones based on health risk factors correlating with health outcome measures have been published. Other reports highlight chronic disease surveillance data and health scorecards in special populations.
Partnerships with regional higher institutions (University of Florida, University of North Florida and Florida A&M University) increased public health service delivery and yielded rich community-based participatory research opportunities.
Cutting edge participation in health IT policy implementation led to the hosting of the fledgling community HIE, the Jacksonville Health Information Network, as well as leadership in shaping the landscape of the state HIE. This has immense implications for public health surveillance activities as chronic disease surveillance and public health service research take center stage under new healthcare payment models amidst increasing calls for quality assurance in public health services.
DCHD is currently hosting a CDC-funded fellowship in applied public health informatics. Some of the projects materializing from the fellowship are the mapping of the current public health informatics profile of the DCHD, a community based diabetes disease registry to aid population-based management and surveillance of diabetes, development of a proposal for a combined primary care/general preventive medicine residency in UF-Shands Medical Center, Jacksonville and mobilization of DCHD healthcare providers for the roll-out of the state-built electronic medical records system (Florida HMS-EHR).
Conclusions
Academic health centers provide a model of collaboration that directly impacts on their success in delivering core public health services. Disease surveillance is positively affected by the diverse community affiliations of an academic health department. The academic health department, as epitomized by DCHD, is also better positioned to seize up-coming opportunities for local public health capacity building.
PMCID: PMC3692891
Academic Health Departments; collaborative model; health informatics projects
8.  Different tracks for pathology informatics fellowship training: Experiences of and input from trainees in a large multisite fellowship program 
Background:
Pathology Informatics is a new field; a field that is still defining itself even as it begins the formalization, accreditation, and board certification process. At the same time, Pathology itself is changing in a variety of ways that impact informatics, including subspecialization and an increased use of data analysis. In this paper, we examine how these changes impact both the structure of Pathology Informatics fellowship programs and the fellows’ goals within those programs.
Materials and Methods:
As part of our regular program review process, the fellows evaluated the value and effectiveness of our existing fellowship tracks (Research Informatics, Clinical Two-year Focused Informatics, Clinical One-year Focused Informatics, and Clinical 1 + 1 Subspecialty Pathology and Informatics). They compared their education, informatics background, and anticipated career paths and analyzed them for correlations between those parameters and the fellowship track chosen. All current and past fellows of the program were actively involved with the project.
Results:
Fellows’ anticipated career paths correlated very well with the specific tracks in the program. A small set of fellows (Clinical – one or two year – Focused Informatics tracks) anticipated clinical careers primarily focused in informatics (Director of Informatics). The majority of the fellows, however, anticipated a career practicing in a Pathology subspecialty, using their informatics training to enhance that practice (Clinical 1 + 1 Subspecialty Pathology and Informatics Track). Significantly, all fellows on this track reported they would not have considered a Clinical Two-year Focused Informatics track if it was the only track offered. The Research and the Clinical One-year Focused Informatics tracks each displayed unique value for different situations.
Conclusions:
It seems a “one size fits all” fellowship structure does not fit the needs of the majority of potential Pathology Informatics candidates. Increasingly, these fellowships must be able to accommodate the needs of candidates anticipating a wide range of Pathology Informatics career paths, be able to accommodate Pathology's increasingly subspecialized structure, and do this in a way that respects the multiple fellowships needed to become a subspecialty pathologist and informatician. This is further complicated as Pathology Informatics begins to look outward and takes its place in the growing, and still ill-defined, field of Clinical Informatics, a field that is not confined to just one medical specialty, to one way of practicing medicine, or to one way of providing patient care.
doi:10.4103/2153-3539.100362
PMCID: PMC3445299  PMID: 23024889
Clinical informatics training; clinical informatics; fellowship tracks; informatics fellowship training; informatics teaching; pathology informatics fellowship; pathology informatics training; pathology informatics
9.  Implementation of a Mobile-Based Surveillance System in Saudi Arabia for the 2009 Hajj 
Objective
To develop and implement a mobile-based disease surveillance system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for the 2009 Hajj; to strengthen public health preparedness for the H1N1 Influenza A pandemic.
Introduction
The Hajj is considered to be the largest mass gathering to date, attracting an estimated 2.5 million Muslims from more than 160 countries annually (1). The H1N1 Influenza A pandemic of 2009 generated a global wave of concern among public health departments that resulted in the institution of preventive measures to limit transmission of the disease. Meanwhile, the pandemic amplified an urgent need for more innovative disease surveillance tools to combat disease outbreaks.
A collaborative effort between the KSA Ministry of Health (MOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was initiated to implement and deploy an informatics-based mobile solution to provide early detection and reporting of disease outbreaks during the 2009 Hajj. The mobile-based tool aimed to improve the efficiency of disease case reporting, recognize potential outbreaks, and enhance the MOH’s operational effectiveness in deploying resources (2).
Methods
We designed a case-based system consisting of a mobile-based data collection toolkit and interactive map-based user interface to perform geospatial analysis and visualization. A train-the-trainer approach was adapted to provide training to the KSA MOH.
Results
More than 200 public health and information and communication technology (ICT) professionals were trained, and 100 mobile devices were deployed during the 2009 Hajj. Nine diseases and conditions that were considered as highest priority during the Hajj were under surveillance, including H1N1 Influenza A and Influenza-like Illness.
Pilot testing of the system was conducted during the first week of Ramadan and a modified system was fully operational during the Hajj. Data collected on smartphones were sent to the system via a secured network. The data were processed immediately and visualized on highly interactive maps with local and global views.
Conclusions
Effective public health decision-making requires timely and accurate information from a variety of sources. Mobile-based systems (e.g., personal digital assistants and smartphones) for data collection, transmission, reporting, and analyses provide a faster, easier, and cheaper means to communicate standardized and shareable public health data for decision-making (3). Mobile-based systems have been recognized as a quick and effective response solution to mass gatherings and recommended as data gathering and communication systems with geographical information system (GIS) capability (2). This paper explored the development and implementation of the Global Positioning System/ Geographic Information System (GPS/GIS) enabled mobile-based disease surveillance system as a feasible and effective way to support and strengthen preparedness for H1N1 Influenza A during the 2009 Hajj.
Mobile computing technology can be utilized to provide rapid and accurate data collection for public health decision-making during mass gatherings. The GIS-based interactive mapping tool provided a pioneering example of the power of a geographically based internet-accessible surveillance system with real-time data visualization. The technical challenges in the process of implementation and in the field were also identified.
A need now exists for a comprehensive and comparative review of parameters such as handheld device cost, training required, and system evaluations because selecting the appropriate software/hardware and system remains a challenge not only to public health professionals, but to the development and application of informatics technology as well.
PMCID: PMC3692784
Mobile Technology; GIS/GPS; Mass Gatherings; Surveillance System; Public Health Preparedness
10.  Perspectives from Nurse Managers on Informatics Competencies 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:391714.
Background and Purpose. Nurse managers are in an excellent position for providing leadership and support within the institutions they serve and are often responsible for accessing information that is vital to the improvement of health facility processes and patients' outcomes. Therefore, competency in informatics is essential. The purposes of this study are to examine current informatics competency levels of nurse managers and to identify the variables that influence these competencies. Methods. A questionnaire designed to assess demographic information and nursing informatics competency was completed by 68 nurse managers. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to analyze the factors influencing informatics competency. Results. Descriptive analysis of the data revealed that informatics competency of these nurse managers was in the moderate range (77.65 ± 8.14). Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that level of education, nursing administration experience, and informatics education/training were significant factors affecting competency levels. Conclusion. The factors identified in this study can serve as a reference for nurse managers who were wishing to improve their informatics competency, hospital administrators seeking to provide appropriate training, and nursing educators who were making decisions about nursing informatics curricula. These findings suggest that efforts to enhance the informatics competency of nurse managers have marked potential benefits.
doi:10.1155/2014/391714
PMCID: PMC3982287  PMID: 24790565
11.  A collaborative institutional model for integrating computer applications in the medical curriculum. 
The introduction and promotion of information technology in an established medical curriculum with existing academic and technical support structures poses a number of challenges. The UNC School of Medicine has developed the Taskforce on Educational Applications in Medicine (TEAM), to coordinate this effort. TEAM works as a confederation of existing research and support units with interests in computers and education, along with a core of interested faculty with curricular responsibilities. Constituent units of the TEAM confederation include the medical center library, medical television studios, basic science teaching laboratories, educational development office, microcomputer and network support groups, academic affairs administration, and a subset of course directors and teaching faculty. Among our efforts have been the establishment of (1) a mini-grant program to support faculty initiated development and implementation of computer applications in the curriculum, (2) a symposium series with visiting speakers to acquaint faculty with current developments in medical informatics and related curricular efforts at other institution, (3) 20 computer workstations located in the multipurpose teaching labs where first and second year students do much of their academic work, (4) a demonstration center for evaluation of courseware and technologically advanced delivery systems. The student workstations provide convenient access to electronic mail, University schedules and calendars, the CoSy computer conferencing system, and several software applications integral to their courses in pathology, histology, microbiology, biochemistry, and neurobiology. The progress achieved toward the primary goal has modestly exceeded our initial expectations, while the collegiality and interest expressed toward TEAM activities in the local environment stand as empirical measures of the success of the concept.
PMCID: PMC2247631  PMID: 1807705
12.  Developing a Multidisciplinary Model of Comparative Effectiveness Research Within a Clinical and Translational Science Award 
The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) were initiated to improve the conduct and impact of NIH's research portfolio, transforming training programs and research infrastructure at academic institutions and creating a nationwide consortium. They provide a model for translating research across disciplines and offer an efficient and powerful platform for comparative effectiveness research (CER), an effort that has long struggled but enjoys renewed hope under health care reform. CTSAs include study design and methods expertise, informatics, and regulatory support; programs in education, training, and career development in domains central to CER; and robust programs in community engagement, both of the general public and of clinical practice communities.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center have entered a formal partnership that places their CTSA at a critical intersection for clinical and translational research. Their CTSA leaders were asked to develop a strategy for enhancing CER activities, and in 2010 they developed a model that encompasses four broadly defined “compartments” of research strength that must be coordinated for this enterprise to succeed: evaluation and health services research, biobehavioral research and prevention, efficacy studies and clinical trials, and social science and implementation research.
This article provides historical context for CER, elucidates Einstein-Montefiore’s CER model and strategic planning efforts, and illustrates how a CTSA can provide a vision, leadership, coordination, and services to support an academic health center’s collaborative efforts to develop a robust CER portfolio and thus contribute to the national effort to improve health and health care.
doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318217ea82
PMCID: PMC3102772  PMID: 21512360
13.  Consumer Informatics in Chronic Illness 
Abstract
Objective: To explore the informatic requirements in the home care of chronically ill patients.
Design: A number of strategies were deployed to help evoke a picture of home care informatics needs: A detailed questionnaire evaluating informational needs and assessing programmable technologies was distributed to a clinic population of parents of children with cancer. Open ended questionnaires were distributed to medical staff and parents soliciting a list of questions asked of medical staff. Parent procedure training was observed to evaluate the training dialog, and parents were observed interacting with a prototype information and education computer offering.
Results: Parents' concerns ranged from the details of managing day to day, to conceptual information about disease and treatment, to management of psychosocial problems. They sought information to solve problems and to provide emotional support, which may create conflicts of interest when the material is threatening. Whether they preferred to be informed by a doctor, nurse, or another parent depended on the nature of the information. Live interaction was preferred to video, which was preferred to text for all topics. Respondents used existing technologies in a straightforward way but were enthusiastic about the proposed use of computer technology to support home care. Multimedia solutions appear to complement user needs and preferences.
Conclusion: Consumers appear positively disposed toward on-line solutions. On-line systems can offer breadth, depth and timeliness currently unattainable. Patients should be involved in the formation and development process in much the same way that users are involved in usercentered computer interface design. A generic framework for patient content is presented that could be applied across multiple disorders.
PMCID: PMC61246  PMID: 9223035
14.  Geospatial resources for supporting data standards, guidance and best practice in health informatics 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:19.
Background
The 1980s marked the occasion when Geographical Information System (GIS) technology was broadly introduced into the geo-spatial community through the establishment of a strong GIS industry. This technology quickly disseminated across many countries, and has now become established as an important research, planning and commercial tool for a wider community that includes organisations in the public and private health sectors.
The broad acceptance of GIS technology and the nature of its functionality have meant that numerous datasets have been created over the past three decades. Most of these datasets have been created independently, and without any structured documentation systems in place. However, search and retrieval systems can only work if there is a mechanism for datasets existence to be discovered and this is where proper metadata creation and management can greatly help.
This situation must be addressed through support mechanisms such as Web-based portal technologies, metadata editor tools, automation, metadata standards and guidelines and collaborative efforts with relevant individuals and organisations. Engagement with data developers or administrators should also include a strategy of identifying the benefits associated with metadata creation and publication.
Findings
The establishment of numerous Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs), and other Internet resources, is a testament to the recognition of the importance of supporting good data management and sharing practices across the geographic information community. These resources extend to health informatics in support of research, public services and teaching and learning.
This paper identifies many of these resources available to the UK academic health informatics community. It also reveals the reluctance of many spatial data creators across the wider UK academic community to use these resources to create and publish metadata, or deposit their data in repositories for sharing.
The Go-Geo! service is introduced as an SDI developed to provide UK academia with the necessary resources to address the concerns surrounding metadata creation and data sharing. The Go-Geo! portal, Geodoc metadata editor tool, ShareGeo spatial data repository, and a range of other support resources, are described in detail.
Conclusions
This paper describes a variety of resources available for the health research and public health sector to use for managing and sharing their data. The Go-Geo! service is one resource which offers an SDI for the eclectic range of disciplines using GIS in UK academia, including health informatics.
The benefits of data management and sharing are immense, and in these times of cost restraints, these resources can be seen as solutions to find cost savings which can be reinvested in more research.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-19
PMCID: PMC3224535  PMID: 21269487
15.  The Biodiversity Informatics Potential Index 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12(Suppl 15):S4.
Background
Biodiversity informatics is a relatively new discipline extending computer science in the context of biodiversity data, and its development to date has not been uniform throughout the world. Digitizing effort and capacity building are costly, and ways should be found to prioritize them rationally. The proposed 'Biodiversity Informatics Potential (BIP) Index' seeks to fulfill such a prioritization role. We propose that the potential for biodiversity informatics be assessed through three concepts: (a) the intrinsic biodiversity potential (the biological richness or ecological diversity) of a country; (b) the capacity of the country to generate biodiversity data records; and (c) the availability of technical infrastructure in a country for managing and publishing such records.
Methods
Broadly, the techniques used to construct the BIP Index were rank correlation, multiple regression analysis, principal components analysis and optimization by linear programming. We built the BIP Index by finding a parsimonious set of country-level human, economic and environmental variables that best predicted the availability of primary biodiversity data accessible through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) network, and constructing an optimized model with these variables. The model was then applied to all countries for which sufficient data existed, to obtain a score for each country. Countries were ranked according to that score.
Results
Many of the current GBIF participants ranked highly in the BIP Index, although some of them seemed not to have realized their biodiversity informatics potential. The BIP Index attributed low ranking to most non-participant countries; however, a few of them scored highly, suggesting that these would be high-return new participants if encouraged to contribute towards the GBIF mission of free and open access to biodiversity data.
Conclusions
The BIP Index could potentially help in (a) identifying countries most likely to contribute to filling gaps in digitized biodiversity data; (b) assisting countries potentially in need (for example mega-diverse) to mobilize resources and collect data that could be used in decision-making; and (c) allowing identification of which biodiversity informatics-resourced countries could afford to assist countries lacking in biodiversity informatics capacity, and which data-rich countries should benefit most from such help.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-S15-S4
PMCID: PMC3287447  PMID: 22373233
16.  Reviews in Radiology Informatics: Establishing a Core Informatics Curriculum 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2004;17(4):244-248.
The advent of digital imaging and information management within the radiology department has prompted the growth of a new radiology subspecialty: Radiology Informatics. With appropriate training, radiologists can become leaders in Medical Informatics and guide the growth of this technology throughout the medical enterprise. Radiology Informatics fellowships, as well as radiology residency programs, provide inconsistent exposure to all the elements of this subspecialty, in part because of the lack of a common curriculum. The Society for Computer Applications in Radiology (SCAR) has developed a curriculum intended to guide training in Radiology Informatics. This article is the first in a series presented by SCAR and the Journal of Digital Imaging, titled “Reviews in Radiology Informatics.” The series is designed to sample from each of the major components in the Radiology Informatics Curriculum, to spark further interest in the field and provide content for informatics education.
doi:10.1007/s10278-004-1030-6
PMCID: PMC3047181  PMID: 15692866
Informatics; education; residents
17.  Recommendations for Responsible Monitoring and Regulation of Clinical Software Systems 
Abstract
In mid-1996, the FDA called for discussions on regulation of clinical software programs as medical devices. In response, a consortium of organizations dedicated to improving health care through information technology has developed recommendations for the responsible regulation and monitoring of clinical software systems by users, vendors, and regulatory agencies. Organizations assisting in development of recommendations, or endorsing the consortium position include the American Medical Informatics Association, the Computer-based Patient Record Institute, the Medical Library Association, the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, the American Health Information Management Association, the American Nurses Association, the Center for Healthcare Information Management, and the American College of Physicians. The consortium proposes four categories of clinical system risks and four classes of measured monitoring and regulatory actions that can be applied strategically based on the level of risk in a given setting. The consortium recommends local oversight of clinical software systems, and adoption by healthcare information system developers of a code of good business practices. Budgetary and other constraints limit the type and number of systems that the FDA can regulate effectively. FDA regulation should exempt most clinical software systems and focus on those systems posing highest clinical risk, with limited opportunities for competent human intervention.
PMCID: PMC61262  PMID: 9391932
18.  Metropolis revisited: the evolving role of librarians in informatics education for the health professions 
Objective:
The authors' goal was to assess changes in the role of librarians in informatics education from 2004 to 2013. This is a follow-up to “Metropolis Redux: The Unique Importance of Library Skills in Informatics,” a 2004 survey of informatics programs.
Methods:
An electronic survey was conducted in January 2013 and sent to librarians via the MEDLIB-L email discussion list, the library section of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Medical Informatics Section of the Medical Library Association, the Information Technology Interest Group of the Association of College and Research Libraries/New England Region, and various library directors across the country.
Results:
Librarians from fifty-five institutions responded to the survey. Of these respondents, thirty-four included librarians in nonlibrary aspects of informatics training. Fifteen institutions have librarians participating in leadership positions in their informatics programs. Compared to the earlier survey, the role of librarians has evolved.
Conclusions:
Librarians possess skills that enable them to participate in informatics programs beyond a narrow library focus. Librarians currently perform significant leadership roles in informatics education. There are opportunities for librarian interdisciplinary collaboration in informatics programs.
Implications:
Informatics is much more than the study of technology. The information skills that librarians bring to the table enrich and broaden the study of informatics in addition to adding value to the library profession itself.
doi:10.3163/1536-5050.103.1.003
PMCID: PMC4279927  PMID: 25552939
19.  Embedding a Learning Management System Into an Undergraduate Medical Informatics Course in Saudi Arabia: Lessons Learned 
Medicine 2.0  2013;2(2):e13.
Background
Public universities in Saudi Arabia today are making substantial investments in e-learning as part of their educational system, especially in the implementation of learning management systems (LMS). To our knowledge, this is the first study conducted in Saudi Arabia exploring medical students’ experience with an LMS, particularly as part of a medical informatics course.
Objective
This study investigates students’ use of various features of the LMS embedded in a recently implemented medical informatics course.
Methods
A mixed methodology approach was employed. Survey questionnaires were distributed to all third year medical informatics students at the end of the course. In addition, two focus group sessions were conducted with twelve students. A thematic analysis of the focus group was performed.
Results
A total of 265 third year medical student surveys (167/265, 63% male and 98/265, 37% female) were completed and analyzed. Overall, 50.6% (134/265) of the students agreed that the course was well planned and up-to-date, had clearly stated objectives and clear evaluation methods, appropriate course assignment, and that the LMS offered easy navigation. Most of the students rated the course as good/fair overall. In general, females were 10.4% more likely to prefer the LMS, as revealed by higher odd ratios (odds ratio [OR] 1.104, 95% CI 0.86-1.42) compared to males. Survey results showed that students’ use of LMS tools increased after taking the course compared to before taking the course. The full model containing all items were statistically significant (χ2 25=69.52, P<.001, n=243), indicating that the model was able to distinguish between students who had positive attitudes towards LMS and those who did not. The focus group, however, revealed that the students used social networking for general use rather than learning purposes, but they were using other Internet resources and mobile devices for learning. Male students showed a higher preference for using technology in general to enhance learning activities. Overall, medical student attitudes towards the LMS were generally positive. Students also wanted a reminder and notification tool to help them stay updated with course events. Interestingly, a subset of students had been running a parallel LMS of their own that has features worth exploring and could be integrated with an official LMS in the future.
Conclusions
To our knowledge, this was the first time that an LMS was used in a medical informatics course. Students showed interest in adapting various LMS tools to enhance their learning and gained more knowledge through familiarity with the tool. Researching an official LMS also revealed the existence of a parallel student-created LMS. This could allow teacher-led and student-led platforms to be integrated in the future for an enhanced student-centered experience.
doi:10.2196/med20.2735
PMCID: PMC4085123  PMID: 25075236
medical education; medical informatics; learning management systems (LMS)
20.  E-Learning as New Method of Medical Education 
Acta Informatica Medica  2008;16(2):102-117.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: NONE DECLARED
Distance learning refers to use of technologies based on health care delivered on distance and covers areas such as electronic health, tele-health (e-health), telematics, telemedicine, tele-education, etc. For the need of e-health, telemedicine, tele-education and distance learning there are various technologies and communication systems from standard telephone lines to the system of transmission digitalized signals with modem, optical fiber, satellite links, wireless technologies, etc. Tele-education represents health education on distance, using Information Communication Technologies (ICT), as well as continuous education of a health system beneficiaries and use of electronic libraries, data bases or electronic data with data bases of knowledge. Distance learning (E-learning) as a part of tele-education has gained popularity in the past decade; however, its use is highly variable among medical schools and appears to be more common in basic medical science courses than in clinical education. Distance learning does not preclude traditional learning processes; frequently it is used in conjunction with in-person classroom or professional training procedures and practices. Tele-education has mostly been used in biomedical education as a blended learning method, which combines tele-education technology with traditional instructor-led training, where, for example, a lecture or demonstration is supplemented by an online tutorial. Distance learning is used for self-education, tests, services and for examinations in medicine i.e. in terms of self-education and individual examination services. The possibility of working in the exercise mode with image files and questions is an attractive way of self education. Automated tracking and reporting of learners’ activities lessen faculty administrative burden. Moreover, e-learning can be designed to include outcomes assessment to determine whether learning has occurred. This review article evaluates the current status and level of tele-education development in Bosnia and Herzegovina outlining its components, faculty development needs for implementation and the possibility of its integration as official learning standard in biomedical curricula in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tele-education refers to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance knowledge and performance. Tele-education in biomedical education is widely accepted in the medical education community where it is mostly integrated into biomedical curricula forming part of a blended learning strategy. There are many biomedical digital repositories of e-learning materials worldwide, some peer reviewed, where instructors or developers can submit materials for widespread use. First pilot project with the aim to introduce tele-education in biomedical curricula in Bosnia and Herzegovina was initiated by Department for Medical Informatics at Medical Faculty in Sarajevo in 2002 and has been developing since. Faculty member’s skills in creating tele-education differ from those needed for traditional teaching and faculty rewards must recognize this difference and reward the effort. Tele-education and use of computers will have an impact of future medical practice in a life long learning. Bologna process, which started last years in European countries, provide us to promote and introduce modern educational methods of education at biomedical faculties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cathedra of Medical informatics and Cathedra of Family medicine at Medical Faculty of University of Sarajevo started to use Web based education as common way of teaching of medical students. Satisfaction with this method of education within the students is good, but not yet suitable for most of medical disciplines at biomedical faculties in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
doi:10.5455/aim.2008.16.102-117
PMCID: PMC3789161  PMID: 24109154
Medical education; Distance learning; Bosnia and Herzegovina
21.  Pharmacist Computer Skills and Needs Assessment Survey 
Background
To use technology effectively for the advancement of patient care, pharmacists must possess a variety of computer skills. We recently introduced a novel applied informatics program in this Canadian hospital clinical service unit to enhance the informatics skills of our members.
Objective
This study was conducted to gain a better understanding of the baseline computer skills and needs of our hospital pharmacists immediately prior to the implementation of an applied informatics program.
Methods
In May 2001, an 84-question written survey was distributed by mail to 106 practicing hospital pharmacists in our multi-site, 1500-bed, acute-adult-tertiary care Canadian teaching hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Results
Fifty-eight surveys (55% of total) were returned within the two-week study period. The survey responses reflected the opinions of licensed BSc and PharmD hospital pharmacists with a broad range of pharmacy practice experience. Most respondents had home access to personal computers, and regularly used computers in the work environment for drug distribution, information management, and communication purposes. Few respondents reported experience with handheld computers. Software use experience varied according to application. Although patient-care information software and e-mail were commonly used, experience with spreadsheet, statistical, and presentation software was negligible. The respondents were familiar with Internet search engines, and these were reported to be the most common method of seeking clinical information online. Although many respondents rated themselves as being generally computer literate and not particularly anxious about using computers, the majority believed they required more training to reach their desired level of computer literacy. Lack of familiarity with computer-related terms was prevalent. Self-reported basic computer skill was typically at a moderate level, and varied depending on the task. Specifically, respondents rated their ability to manipulate files, use software help features, and install software as low, but rated their ability to access and navigate the Internet as high. Respondents were generally aware of what online resources were available to them and Clinical Pharmacology was the most commonly employed reference. In terms of anticipated needs, most pharmacists believed they needed to upgrade their computer skills. Medical database and Internet searching skills were identified as those in greatest need of improvement.
Conclusions
Most pharmacists believed they needed to upgrade their computer skills. Medical database and Internet searching skills were identified as those in greatest need of improvement for the purposes of improving practice effectiveness.
doi:10.2196/jmir.6.1.e11
PMCID: PMC1550586  PMID: 15111277
Computer literacy; pharmacy; clinical informatics; needs assessment; pharmacists; survey
22.  The Centennial Patient Care Program: binding patient, student, and clinician-teacher in a learning triad. 
The University of Chicago is building a technology-based clinical environment to provide a longitudinal experience for patients and medical students. This environment uses an open systems, computer communication and information support network to forge an interactive education and care relationship between patient, medical student, and clinical faculty mentor. The project proactively addresses some of the most important activities required to reform both the health care and medical education systems: anchoring patient care in a generalist setting; educating medical students in outpatient medicine; fostering primary care as a career choice; and using medical informatics as a tool rather than as an end in itself. Moreover, the project effectively deploys concepts such as patient-centered education, student-based learning, and mentored teaching experiences. This paper reports the curricular, pedagogical, and technological motivations and framework under which the project was designed, and describes the process that a patient-student-clinician/teacher triad will experience as participants in this program.
PMCID: PMC2850675  PMID: 8130577
23.  An Overview of the CERC ARTEMIS Project 
The basic premise of this effort is that health care can be made more effective and affordable by applying modern computer technology to improve collaboration among diverse and distributed health care providers.
Information sharing, communication, and coordination are basic elements of any collaborative endeavor. In the health care domain, collaboration is characterized by cooperative activities by health care providers to deliver total and real-time care for their patients. Communication between providers and managed access to distributed patient records should enable health care providers to make informed decisions about their patients in a timely manner. With an effective medical information infrastructure in place, a patient will be able to visit any health care provider with access to the network, and the provider will be able to use relevant information from even the last episode of care in the patient record. Such a patient-centered perspective is in keeping with the real mission of health care providers.
Today, an easy-to-use, integrated health care network is not in place in any community, even though current technology makes such a network possible. Large health care systems have deployed partial and disparate systems that address different elements of collaboration. But these islands of automation have not been integrated to facilitate cooperation among health care providers in large communities or nationally.
CERC and its team members at Valley Health Systems, Inc., St. Marys Hospital and Cabell Huntington Hospital form a consortium committed to improving collaboration among the diverse and distributed providers in the health care arena. As the first contract recipient of the multi-agency High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Initiative, this team of computer system developers, practicing rural physicians, community care groups, health care researchers, and tertiary care providers are using research prototypes and commercial off-the-shelf technologies to develop an open collaboration environment for the health care domain. This environment is called ARTEMIS — Advanced Research TEstbed for Medical InformaticS.
PMCID: PMC2579046  PMID: 8563249
24.  A Framework for the Biomedical Informatics Curriculum 
The problem of developing a curriculum for biomedical informatics is highly dependent on how we choose to define and practice the field. Numerous authors have questioned how to position biomedical informatics along the continuum of formal, empirical and engineering disciplines. A concern with current educational programs in biomedical informatics is that students finish without a clear understanding of the relation between theory and practice, or worse, with the impression that the field does not possess any theoretical basis. In this paper, we propose that biomedical informatics curricula explicitly address skills and competencies at three levels: formal, empirical, and applied. We posit that that knowledge of formalization is necessary to build testable empirical models, and that model-driven approaches are necessary for deploying information systems that can be evaluated in a meaningful way. A curricular framework is proposed that identifies a set of methods, techniques and theories that have broad applicability within the domain of biomedicine, and which can span a wide range of application areas: bioinformatics, imaging informatics, clinical informatics and public health informatics. A stronger linkage between theory and practice will result in students who are empowered to create effective and lasting solutions to biomedical problems.
PMCID: PMC1480084  PMID: 14728189
25.  A Novel Cross-Disciplinary Multi-Institute Approach to Translational Cancer Research: Lessons Learned from Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC) 
Cancer Informatics  2007;3:255-274.
Background:
The Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance Bioinformatics Consortium (PCABC, http://www.pcabc.upmc.edu) is one of the first major project-based initiatives stemming from the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance that was funded for four years by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The objective of this was to initiate a prototype biorepository and bioinformatics infrastructure with a robust data warehouse by developing a statewide data model (1) for bioinformatics and a repository of serum and tissue samples; (2) a data model for biomarker data storage; and (3) a public access website for disseminating research results and bioinformatics tools. The members of the Consortium cooperate closely, exploring the opportunity for sharing clinical, genomic and other bioinformatics data on patient samples in oncology, for the purpose of developing collaborative research programs across cancer research institutions in Pennsylvania. The Consortium’s intention was to establish a virtual repository of many clinical specimens residing in various centers across the state, in order to make them available for research. One of our primary goals was to facilitate the identification of cancer-specific biomarkers and encourage collaborative research efforts among the participating centers.
Methods:
The PCABC has developed unique partnerships so that every region of the state can effectively contribute and participate. It includes over 80 individuals from 14 organizations, and plans to expand to partners outside the State. This has created a network of researchers, clinicians, bioinformaticians, cancer registrars, program directors, and executives from academic and community health systems, as well as external corporate partners - all working together to accomplish a common mission.
The various sub-committees have developed a common IRB protocol template, common data elements for standardizing data collections for three organ sites, intellectual property/tech transfer agreements, and material transfer agreements that have been approved by each of the member institutions. This was the foundational work that has led to the development of a centralized data warehouse that has met each of the institutions’ IRB/HIPAA standards.
Results:
Currently, this “virtual biorepository” has over 58,000 annotated samples from 11,467 cancer patients available for research purposes. The clinical annotation of tissue samples is either done manually over the internet or semi-automated batch modes through mapping of local data elements with PCABC common data elements. The database currently holds information on 7188 cases (associated with 9278 specimens and 46,666 annotated blocks and blood samples) of prostate cancer, 2736 cases (associated with 3796 specimens and 9336 annotated blocks and blood samples) of breast cancer and 1543 cases (including 1334 specimens and 2671 annotated blocks and blood samples) of melanoma. These numbers continue to grow, and plans to integrate new tumor sites are in progress. Furthermore, the group has also developed a central web-based tool that allows investigators to share their translational (genomics/proteomics) experiment data on research evaluating potential biomarkers via a central location on the Consortium’s web site.
Conclusions:
The technological achievements and the statewide informatics infrastructure that have been established by the Consortium will enable robust and efficient studies of biomarkers and their relevance to the clinical course of cancer. Studies resulting from the creation of the Consortium may allow for better classification of cancer types, more accurate assessment of disease prognosis, a better ability to identify the most appropriate individuals for clinical trial participation, and better surrogate markers of disease progression and/or response to therapy.
PMCID: PMC2675833  PMID: 19455246

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