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Public Health Informatics was defined by in a paper published in 2000 by Yasnoff as "the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research and learning." 1

He also defined four principles on which public health informatics should be followed as a discipline. They are

  • Public Health Informatics should focus on the information science and technology applications that promote the health of populations.
  • Public Health Informatics should also focus on the information science and technology applications that prevent disease and injury by altering the conditions or environment that put populations at risk.
  • Public Health Informatics applications should explore the potential vulnerable points in the causal chains leading to disease, injury or disability and not to restricted to particular social, behavioural or environmental context.
  • Public Health Informatics should reflect the governmental context in which public health is practised.


Modern public health practice has required the development and use of information technology to link together a variety of surveillance activities, development and use of standards that support public surveillance and the use of the Internet for the dissemination and generation of information.

Public Health Informatics is helping to improve the practice of public health through its some of following components:

  • Consumer Informatics: A new branch of health informatics that provides the general public, in their role as healthcare consumers, with computer-based health information to aid them in the management of their health.
  • Epidemiologic / Disease Surveillance and Tracking Systems: Computer systems that collect, analyse and disseminate information that is used in the prevention of diseases.


  1. Yasnoff, William A.; et al. Public Health Informatics: Improving and Transforming Public Health in the Information Age. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 2000: 67 - 75.



International Medical Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
UK Health Informatics Society
British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee
European Federation for Medical Informatics
American Nursing Informatics Association
American Telemedicine Association

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Biomedical Informatics
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Public Health Informatics
Veterinary Informatics
Healthcare Technologies

Last Updated: 10 August 2006.

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