The 34th Annual Symposium on Biomedical and Health Informatics, sponsored by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), meets this week in Washington DC to discuss the role of informatics in modernizing the nation’s health care sector. Informatics professionals develop and encourage use of critical decision-support tools for health care providers, adopt and promote use of electronic health records as a tool for collaborative treatment of patients, and create resources and tools used in biomedical research.

“In less than 10 years, most Americans will know the term ‘informatics’ and will understand that it is the science that underpins their physicians’ capacity to make a speedy, precise diagnosis; to prescribe medication remotely and to read test results; distribute information to other consulting physician groups; and download results and notes to patients,” said Edward H. Shortliffe, MD, PhD, FACMI, president of the American Medical Informatics Association. “People will begin to expect health data at their fingertips, in much the same way they interact as agents in their personal banking, personal travel, and online investing.”

In an address to the symposium today, David Blumenthal, MD, the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Coordinator on Health Information Technology, told the audience, “AMIA plays a leading role in the nation’s transition to the quality benefits and efficiencies of health information technology, and this year’s symposium promises to continue supporting our movement forward.”

Scientific Program Committee Chair, Gilad Kuperman, MD, PhD, FACMI, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University, meanwhile pointed to the challenges informatics professionals face working in today’s health sector. “Introducing complex technology into a complex health care system requires a deliberate and thoughtful approach,” he said.

“Simultaneously, important advances in biomedical computational techniques are helping us understand the best ways to extract meaning from health data, discover new knowledge, support clinical research, and understand how best to use information technology to improve the health of individuals and populations,” added Kuperman.

Source: American Medical Informatics Association