Sources of informatics
For example in health informatics some of these sources are electronic patient records, population studies, clinical trials, imaging, and large-scale cellular and molecular studies. Some of these sources such as imaging, population studies and clinical trials can apply to other informatics in science.
Methods used in informatics
Researchers develop, introduce, and evaluate new bio-medically motivated methods in areas as diverse as data mining (deriving new knowledge from large databases), natural language or text processing, cognitive science, human interface design, decision support, databases, and algorithms for analysing large amounts of data generated in public health, clinical research, or genomics/proteomics. The science of informatics is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on (and contributing to) a large number of other component fields, including computer science, decision science, information science, management science, cognitive science, and organizational theory.
The methods and techniques developed by biomedical informatics scientists are often relevant across five major areas of application that AMIA members emphasize:
• Translational Bioinformatics
• Clinical Research Informatics
• Clinical Informatics
• Consumer Health Informatics
• Public Health Informatics
How informatics is used in science
Informatics can be used in healthcare to improve patient care, efficiency, and to reduce cost. It is applied to many areas of science like pharmacy, dentistry, public health. Health informatics is a branch of medical science, which has varied applications. It involves applications of information technology, cognitive science, epidemiology, Public health surveillance. Health informatics encompasses issues personal to global ranging. Health informatics also has a good application in improving Quality of Life, besides quality of care. Some of the applications of health informatics are, maintaining electronics patients record. Evidence based clinical decision support systems.
Informatics is used in computer science to study information, computation and communication in artificial systems such as computers, and in natural systems such as brains, genes and living cells.
Another type of informatics used in science is biomedical informatics, this is the interdisciplinary field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving, and decision making, driven by efforts to improve human health.
A particular application of informatics in science
Professor Jill Pell is an MRC-funded scientist in Glasgow who has used informatics to look at the impact of the 2006 Scottish smoking ban on pregnancy complications. By analysing 14 years’ worth of data on over 700,000 births, Jill was able to show that the number of preterm and low-birth weight babies dropped in the three years after the ban was introduced. Her work strongly suggests that the smoke-free legislation has had a positive impact on this area of public health.
Jill Pell’s research was very successful in her findings, the main reason her research was so successful was the fact that she had access to a large amount of high quality data on hospitalised patients. In 2014 Jill wrote an article in network paper and explained why it was so important that data was shared as it allowed research similar to hers to be carried out successfully, in the article she says, “I used patient data to undertake health services research and observational intervention studies in order to improve health service design and delivery” (1) with this she could see from specific trials if it only occurred to the specific patient sub-group or generalised to the whole patient population. This in turn allowed her to make informed decisions about how best to translate research findings into clinical practice.
The governmental now recognises that sharing and using data are essential to improve the services provided to patients and the population as a whole. Research funders have provided the large sums of money required to achieve the necessary step changes in infrastructure and capacity and, importantly, the developments include improvements in information governance and public engagement.
In the article Jill comments that she has witnessed the importance that patient records can make to our understanding of health and provision of healthcare, she ends her article with stating, “I look forward eagerly to the new possibilities that the ongoing developments will afford.” (1)
Sources of informatics