Health informatics (also called Health Information Systems, health care informatics,healthcare informatics, medical informatics, nursing informatics, clinical informatics, or biomedical informatics) is a discipline at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care. It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health,occupational therapy, and (bio)medical research.
- The international standards on the subject are covered by ICS 35.240.80 in which ISO 27799:2008 is one of the core components.
- Molecular bioinformatics and clinical informatics have converged into the field of translational bioinformatics.
World wide use of computer technology in medicine began in the early 1950s with the rise of the computers. In 1949, Gustav Wagner established the first professional organization for informatics in Germany. The prehistory, history, and future of medical information and health information technology are discussed in reference. Specialized university departments and Informatics training programs began during the 1960s in France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. Medical informatics research units began to appear during the 1970s in Poland and in the U.S. Since then the development of high-quality health informatics research, education and infrastructure has been a goal of the U.S. and the European Union.
Early names for health informatics included medical computing, biomedical computing, medical computer science, computer medicine, medical electronic data processing, medical automatic data processing, medical information processing, medical information science,medical software engineering, and medical computer technology.
The health informatics community is still growing, it is by no means a mature profession, but work in the UK by the voluntary registration body, the UK Council of Health Informatics Professions has suggested eight key constituencies within the domain - information management, knowledge management, portfolio/programme/project management, ICT, education and research, clinical informatics, health records(service and business-related), health informatics service management. These constituencies accommodate professionals in and for the NHS, in academia and commercial service and solution providers.
Since the 1970s the most prominent international coordinating body has been the International Medical Informatics Association(IMIA).
Even though the idea of using computers in medicine emerged as technology advanced in the early 20th century, it was not until the 1950s that informatics began to make a significant impact in the United States.
The earliest use of electronic digital computers for medicine was for dental projects in the 1950s at the United States National Bureau of Standards by Robert Ledley. During the mid-1950s, the United States Air Force (USAF) carried out several medical projects on its computers while also encouraging civilian agencies such as the National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council (NAS-NRC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to sponsor such work. In 1959, Ledley and Lee B. Lusted published “Reasoning Foundations of Medical Diagnosis,” a widely-read article in Science, which introduced computing (especially operations research) techniques to medical workers. Ledley and Lusted’s article has remained influential for decades, especially within the field of medical decision making.
Guided by Ledley's late 1950s survey of computer use in biology and medicine (carried out for the NAS-NRC), and by his and Lusted's articles, the NIH undertook the first major effort to introduce computers to biology and medicine. This effort, carried out initially by the NIH's Advisory Committee on Computers in Research (ACCR), chaired by Lusted, spent over $40 million between 1960 and 1964 in order to establish dozens of large and small biomedical research centers in the US.
One early (1960, non-ACCR) use of computers was to help quantify normal human movement, as a precursor to scientifically measuring deviations from normal, and design of prostheses. The use of computers (IBM 650, 1620, and 7040) allowed analysis of a large sample size, and of more measurements and subgroups than had been previously practical with mechanical calculators, thus allowing an objective understanding of how human locomotion varies by age and body characteristics. A study co-author was Dean of the Marquette University College of Engineering; this work led to discrete Biomedical Engineering departments there and elsewhere.
The next steps, in the mid-1960s, were the development (sponsored largely by the NIH) of expert systems such as MYCIN andInternist-I. In 1965, the National Library of Medicine started to use MEDLINE and MEDLARS. Around this time, Neil Pappalardo, Curtis Marble, and Robert Greenes developed MUMPS (Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System) in Octo Barnett's Laboratory of Computer Science  at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, another center of biomedical computing that received significant support from the NIH. In the 1970s and 1980s it was the most commonly used programming language for clinical applications. The MUMPS operating system was used to support MUMPS language specifications. As of 2004, a descendent of this system is being used in the United States Veterans Affairs hospital system. The VA has the largest enterprise-wide health information system that includes an electronic medical record, known as the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA). A graphical user interface known as the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) allows health care providers to review and update a patient’s electronic medical record at any of the VA's over 1,000 health care facilities.
During the 1960s, Morris Collen, a physician working for Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research, developed computerized systems to automate many aspects of multiphasic health checkups. These system became the basis the larger medical databases Kaiser Permanente developed during the 1970s and 1980s. The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) has since 1993 annually bestowed the Morris F. Collen, MD Medal for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Medical Informatics.
In the 1970s a growing number of commercial vendors began to market practice management and electronic medical records systems. Although many products exist, only a small number of health practitioners use fully featured electronic health care records systems.
Homer R. Warner, one of the fathers of medical informatics, founded the Department of Medical Informatics at the University of Utahin 1968. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has an award named after him on application of informatics to medicine.
Like other IT training specialties, there are Informatics certifications available to help informatics professionals stand out and be recognized. In Radiology Informatics, the CIIP (Certified Imaging Informatics Professional) certification was created by ABII (The American Board of Imaging Informatics) which is sponsored by SIIM (the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine) in 2005. The CIIP certification requires documented experience working in Imaging Informatics, formal testing and is a limited time credential requiring renewal every five years. The exam tests for a combination of IT technical knowledge, clinical understanding, and project management experience thought to represent the typical workload of a PACS administrator or other radiology IT clinical support role. Certifications from PARCA (PACS Administrators Registry and Certifications Association) are also recognized. The five PARCA certifications are tiered from entry level to architect level. (wikipedia)