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Clinical informatics is a subset of medical informatics that
is concerned with the analysis, management and use of information in clinical
Clinical informatics has over the years been involved in the development of the
Information and Knowledge Databases: With the rapid increase in the
amount of medical information, information and knowledge databases such as
MEDLINE and EMBASE have become
essential tools to healthcare professionals and researchers. These databases
collect information from medical periodicals and provide a user interface that
allows users to search for the information they need effectively. The databases
provide anything from just the titles and references of medical publications (MEDLINE)
to full text documentation with diagrams (TOXNET).
Hospital Information Systems (HIS): A Hospital Information System is a
combination of computer hardware and software with the necessary communications
that aid the management of a hospital’s clinical and administrative
information. They allow end-users access to patient records, laboratory
results, staffing and scheduling, supplies and inventory, amongst other things.
They also provide excess to external information sources such as
Healthcare networks bring together end-users and resources for better delivery
of healthcare. They have been especially useful in the areas of Telemedicine,
patient billing information, data access, especially as wireless handheld
devices become more popular and computer-aided learning.
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs): Electronic Medical Records are the
longitudinal record of a patient’s care. It combines information from the
contact with primary healthcare as well as subsets of information associated
with the periodic care provided by a healthcare institution.
Biomedical Signal Processing:
There are now new low cost highly technologically specific patient monitoring
equipment that are being used in the measurement of physiological parameters
such as pressures, frequencies and temperatures, and they rely on sophisticated
digital signal processing to do just that. The devices have also led to the
development of desktop software applications that improve the analysis of
signals such as EEG, ECG, EMG and EOG. All these have led to significant
improvement in areas of clinical care such as Intensive Care Monitoring.
Medical Imaging: Medical images provide a good deal of diagnostic
information to the clinician. Medical images include Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Singular-photon Emission Computed
Tomography (SPECT), X-rays, ultrasound, Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT)
and Electrical Source Imaging (ESI). Advances in Information Technology have
brought about improvement in the quality of images, image compression
techniques that reduce the amount of storage, remote transmission of digitised
images and the development of imaging management and communication systems such
as PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications Systems). PACS have been
integrated into hospital information systems (HIS) to manage medical images
locally within the hospitals, as well as allowing remote access by clinicians
that are offsite.
Degoulet, Patrice.; Fieschi, Marius. Introduction to clinical
informatics. Health Informatics Series, Springer. 1999
Free online journal that specialises in Clinical Informatics.
Ten essential clinical
Article by Enrico Coiera, author of the bestseller Medical Informatics, the
Internet and Telemedicine.
Website by the Vancouver Island Health Authority on how clinical informatics
can aid healthcare.