Sunday, December 29, 2019

Clinical Informatics Memes

Hi fellow #ClinicalInformatics, #CMIO, #CNIO, #HealthIT, and other friends,

Explaining the term "Clinical Informatics" to laypeople is not easy. After first trying to describe the role, the discussion can get easily lost in the current sea-of-terminology surrounding the current use of the word "Informatics" - See the current Wikipedia entries on :

Shortly after I created this post, the famous Informatics teacher and guru Dr. Bill Hersh (from OHSU!) reviewed my diagram above, and offered his famous diagram from "A stimulus to define informatics and health information technology", published May 2009 in BMC Medical Information Decision Making, for comparison. 

So, from Hersh, W. A stimulus to define informatics and health information technology. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 9, 24 (2009) doi:10.1186/1472-6947-9-24, the following diagram is being used with permission for educational purposes : 

Used with permission, from Hersh W. A stimulus to define informatics and health information technology, BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 9, 24 (2009)
(Side note : What an honor to get feedback from the great Dr. Hersh!)

Dr. Hersh correctly points out (paraphrasing) that all 'informaticists' need to care about standards, and both data in and data out - So drawing a distinction between people who focus on data in and others who focus on data out is not helpful. 

Still, my own personal observation is that some 'Informaticists' and 'Health Informaticists' seem to focus more on data in (Clinical Informatics), and others focus on data out (Analytics, Data Scientists, Research Informatics, Population Health, Public Health Informatics). Should we all work together? Absolutely, yes. Do we need to draw lines between roles? Ideally, no, but from a practical standpoint - It seems some people prefer to create data, and others prefer to analyze and study it. (Hopefully both types can work together for the betterment of individual and population health.)

Either way, while the common use of the term "Health Informatics" might lead some people to refer to themselves as "Informaticists" (Informaticians?) or maybe "Clinical Informaticists" (Clinical Informaticians?), there is often confusion about who is responsible for the difficult task of usability, configuration, testing, education, implementation, and support

After all, when it comes to data, garbage in, garbage out - so while analyzing data may be a powerful tool for analytics, research, and population health, the quality of that data is only as good as the usability of the software, the function of the configuration during patient care, the predictability of the clinical workflows, and the training support for the users.

Since none of this complex terminology and role discussion really helps laypeople to better understand the role of Clinical Informatics, or to engage physicians in the important role of configuration and adoption - I've decided to start assembling some Clinical Informatics memes, only for friendly discussion and educational purposes. 

They are attached below - Feel free to click each image to expand.

[ DRAFT ] LIBRARY - Sample Clinical Informatics Memes (click each image to enlarge) : 


I hope these images help you educate and engage with your own teams!

Remember, these images and this blog are for educational purposes only - Your mileage may vary. Always consult with your own clinical informatics team, legal/compliance team, and Clinical and Senior Leadership teams before engaging in any strategic planning or process changes.

Have any links to other educational graphics, or feedback you'd care to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

1 comment:

John Poikonen, PharmD said...

There are two diagram I will send you from Shortliffe and Cimno's Book Biomedical Informatics 2014. That also are good to frame the terminology.