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The Micro-Macro Spectrum of Medical Informatics Challenges: From Molecular Medicine to Transforming Health Care in a Globalizing Society
07 February 2018 (online)
Background: Medical informatics has always encompassed a very broad spectrum of techniques for clinical and biomedical research, education and practice. There has been a concomitant variety of depth of specialization, ranging from the routine application of information processing methods to cutting-edge research on fundamental problems of computer-based systems and their relations to cognition and perception in biomedicine.
Objectives: Challenges for the field can be placed in perspective by considering the scale of each – from the highly detailed scientific problems in bioinformatics and emerging molecular medicine to the broad and complex social problems of introducing medical informatics into web-related global settings. Methods: The scale of an informatics problem is not only determined by the inherent physical space in which it exists, but also by the conceptual complexity that it involves, reinforcing the need to investigate the semantic web within which medical informatics is defined.
Results and Conclusion: Bioinformatics, biomedical imaging and language understanding provide examples that anchor research and practice in biomedical informatics at the detailed, scientific end of the spectrum. Traditional concerns of medical informatics in the clinical arena make up the broad mid-range of the spectrum, while novel social interaction models of competition and cooperation will be needed to understand the implications of distributed health information technology for individual and societal change in an increasingly interconnected world.
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