Medical informatics (also called health care informatics) is a term describing the use of information technology within the health care industry. Medical informatics deals with both the clinical and public health aspects of health care. Medical informatics and bioinformatics (also known as computational biology), are sometimes grouped together and called, more broadly, Biomedical Informatics.
The use of information technology in biology is the focus of bioinformatics. Generally speaking, the focus of bioinformatics is rather different, emphasizing sequence analysis, quantitative analysis of protein structure, and similar problems. It is a matter of debate how fundamentally different the two fields are, though the emphasis on healthcare delivery gives medical informatics a decidedly different focus. On the one hand, it is argued that advances in medical technology will lead to a tighter linkage of the two fields. Others argue that medical informatics is already a field with clearly defined goals and problems, and that any links between the two fields are speculative at present.
- The organization and representation of information in healthcare. This includes not only taxonomies and ontologies, but also usability studies of presenting general knowledge in a usable manner. 
- The development and use of controlled vocabularies in healthcare and computer systems used in healthcare
- More generally, the development and use of ontologies as an aid to managing health related information
- Clinical decision support, both as a theoretical and a practical (engineering) problem, in order to promote evidence-based medicine.
- Information retrieval, which includes information discovery (searching for information to solve a specific problem, searching for background information, and searching to keep up), information recovery (pursing an article that searcher knows exists), and information awareness.
- The electronic health record (EHR) and patient record systems are another important area. A narrower but more popular and widely used system is the electronic medical record. This is an area that poses a number of technical challenges, but issues such as usability, patient safety and privacy are obviously of paramount importance. Another interesting area is mobility and portability of information. Obviously, in critical care situations it is highly desirable to have access to information that may not be maintained locally (such as adverse reactions), but making this information available raises significant privacy concerns. It also poses a number of technical challenges because systems that are developecd independently may use very disimilar means of representing and storing information. Health information systems must also be convenient to use, and sufficiently comprehensive to be of value to health care providers. If they do not add value to traditional means of information management (such as paper charts, they are unlikely to be used.
There are two (sometimes competing) standards developing organizations that have focused on developing standards for the representation and interchange of information in informatics. One is Health Level Seven (HL7), and the other is ASTM International, specifically the Technical Committee E31 (Healthcare Informatics).
- Health Level 7 : A standardization organization and a set of specifications for the electronic interchange of healthcare information. (HL7)
- DICOM : Add brief definition or description
- Current Procedural Terminology : A system of 5-digit numerical terms for standard medical procedures (CPT)
- Diagnosis-related group : Add brief definition or description(DRG)
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders : A compendium, published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), that presents a categorization of mental disorders, as well as their associated diagnostic criteria. (DSM-IV)
- International Classification of Diseases : Add brief definition or description (ICD)
- Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes : Add brief definition or description (LOINC)
- Medical Subject Headings : Add brief definition or description (MeSH)
- Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine--Clinical Terms : Add brief definition or description (SNOMED)
- Unified Medical Language System : Add brief definition or description (UMLS)
Specialists in medical informatics
Certification has been proposed for specialists in clinical informatics.
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- Detmer DE, Munger BS, Lehmann CU. Medical Informatics Board Certification: History, Current Status, and Predicted Impact on the Medical Informatics Workforce. Applied Clinical Informatics 2010;1(1):11-18. DOI:10.4338/ACI-2009-11-R-0016
- Health Level Seven (HL7)
- DICOM Home Page
- International Medical Informatics Association
- American Medical Informatics Association
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
- Indian Association for Medical Informatics (IAMI)
- Indian Journal of Medical Informatics (IJMI)
- Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA)
- Journal of Biomedical Informatics