There is strong support for educating physicians in medical informatics, and the benefits of such education have been clearly identified. Despite this, North American medical schools do not routinely provide education in medical informatics.
We conducted a qualitative study to identify issues facing the introduction of medical informatics into an undergraduate medical curriculum. Nine key informants at the University of Toronto medical school were interviewed, and their responses were transcribed and analyzed to identify consistent themes.
The field of medical informatics was not clearly understood by participants. There was, however, strong support for medical informatics education, and the benefits of such education were consistently identified. In the curriculum we examined, medical informatics education was delivered informally and inconsistently through mainly optional activities. Issues facing the introduction of medical informatics education included: an unclear understanding of the discipline; faculty and administrative detractors and, the dense nature of the existing undergraduate medical curriculum.
The identified issues may present serious obstacles to the introduction of medical informatics education into an undergraduate medicine curriculum, and we present some possible strategies for addressing these issues.