CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Yearb Med Inform 2018; 27(01): 292-295
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1641208
Information on IMIA Regions
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

North American Medical Informatics (NAMI)

Andre Kushniruk
1  School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
2  Digital Health Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Karen Greenwood
3  American Medical Informatics Association, Bethesda, MD, USA
Mark Casselman
2  Digital Health Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
22 April 2018 (eFirst)


This article reports on developments in North America in both the United States and Canada. In both countries there have been significant moves to broaden the scope of the national informatics assocations (AMIA and Digital Health Canada), as the associations rapidly change and broaden across the continuum of the healthcare ecosystem.

Informatics Activities in the United States - Report from AMIA

AMIA - Informatics Professionals. Leading the Way.

AMIA represents more than 5,400 healthcare professionals, students, informatics researchers, practitioners, and thought-leaders in biomedicine, healthcare, and science. AMIA's members are subject matter experts in the science and practice of informatics as it relates to clinical care, research, education, and policy. They address challenges across the continuum of the health ecosystem— consumers and patients, healthcare providers and care delivery systems, population and public health, and basic and clinical research with the ultimate goal to advance better health, better healthcare, and improved efficiency through the use of informatics and information technology.


The Evolution of AMIA Meetings and Conferences

In 2018, AMIA will embark on a brand refresh for each of its ive signature meetings. Buoyed by the launch of a new Why Informatics? communications campaign, the AMIA Board of Directors recognized a need for clearer identification for the AMIA meetings to support messaging to those that are outside of AMIA's membership. Membership and meeting attendance is strong, but reaching new people requires outreach messaging with greater clarity and intent of purpose.

Altogether, the AMIA meetings attract over 3,700 registrants and serve diverse, multidisciplinary and interprofessional populations. In 2018, AMIA is poised to reach out even further to embrace new communities in the informatics-related solar system of science and practice—health data scientists, applied clinical informatics professionals, educators not yet accredited, and online learners from across the globe.

AMIA meetings offer education, networking, and peer-reviewed presentation opportunities reflecting the comprehensive range of informatics domains serving hundreds of health and healthcare related disciplines. AMIA is committed to helping informatics students and professionals find their home within the home for informatics professionals.


New AMIA Meeting Names

AMIA 2018 Informatics Summit Translational | Clinical Research | Implementation | Data Science

March 12 - 15, San Francisco, CA

The Informatics Summit (formerly the Joint Summits) is the evolution of two consecutive meetings into one integrated meeting with four complimentary tracks serving clinical and translational investigators, health data scientists, computational biologists, genomics researchers, public health geneticists, clinical and public health informaticians, and policy professionals focused on the research enterprise.

AMIA 2018 Clinical Informatics Conference Evidence | Analytics | Best Practice

May 8 - 10, Scottsdale, AZ

The Clinical Informatics Conference (formerly iHealth) serves CMIO/CMO/ CNIO/CNO executives, physicians, nurses, quality and patient safety professionals, and other clinicians in health-system and hospital settings interested in improving healthcare processes, outcomes, satisfaction, and efficiency through health IT innovations.

AMIA 2018 Informatics Educators Forum Scholarship | Leadership | Professional Advancement

June 19 - 21, New Orleans, LA

The Informatics Educators Forum (formerly InSpire) brings together the leaders of 60+ institutional members of AMIA's Academic Forum, informatics professors, emerging faculty, and graduate students to learn about state-of-the-art approaches and best practices in education, research, and training and to build, support, and strengthen the academic informatics community.

AMIA 2018 Annual Symposium

November 3 - 7, San Francisco, CA

AMIA's lagship annual meeting draws the multidisciplinary, interprofessional community of informaticians together for five intensive days of learning and networking features hundreds of scientific sessions, workshops, exhibition, posters, and opportunities highlighting the full breadth and depth of the informatics profession.


The Evolution of AMIA Publications


JAMIA continues to provide members and subscribers with the best in biomedical and health informatics publishing as the premier journal in the field. Lucila Ohno-Machado and the JAMIA Editorial Board published a special issue on data science in early 2018. The journal also featured sections focused on using HIT for CDS and predictive analytics, patient safety, and data driven approaches to advancing biomedical research.

The year 2018 also marked an historical change to JAMIA by moving to monthly online only publication. This evolution has enabled us to increase the frequency of journal issues, partner with digital object repositories, and support the dissemination of informatics research.



In 2017, AMIA also launched JAMIA Open, a new peer-reviewed, online-only, and gold open access journal led by Neil Sarkar. JA-MIA Open provides a global forum for the publication of novel research and insights in the major areas of informatics for biomedicine and health (e.g., translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, public health informatics, and consumer health informatics), as well as related areas such as data science, qualitative research, and implementation science. JAMIA Open articles, which include application notes, database notes, and patient/ community perspectives, alongside original research, reflect the broad diversity of the field of informatics community, focusing on the intersection of informatics, health, communication, and technology, and how that intersection can support patient care through research, practice, and education. JAMIA Open authors are encouraged to make data and source code accessible through publicly accessible repositories that can be cited using digital object identifiers. Accepted manuscripts will be required to have a patient/community facing abstract that highlights key findings.


Applied Clinical Informatics

AMIA members continue to receive the journal Applied Clinical Informatics as part of their membership. As the official eJournal of AMIA and IMIA, ACI publishes approximately 100 peer-reviewed articles per year. It aims to establish a platform that allows sharing knowledge between clinical medicine and health IT specialists as well as bridging gaps between visionary design and successful and pragmatic deployment. ACI also launched an open access companion journal envisioned to publish matters in the field of clinical informatics lead by AMIA members Lipika Samal and David Dorr.


Advocacy Focused on Creating Impact in Health and Healthcare

AMIA continues to develop its brand of evidence-based public policy in Washington, D.C. Notably, AMIA published policy principles and positions further defining the emerging domain of health informatics policy. Not unlike environmental policy, security policy, or welfare policy, health informatics policy is a distinct policy domain that seeks to optimize care delivery and care experience, improve population and public health, and advance discovery through the collection, analysis, and application of data.

AMIA published the first of several pillars of health informatics policy in 2016, including health IT safety, data sharing in research, workforce, education, and patient empowerment. In 2017, AMIA added to the pantheon of health informatics policy by developing principles for HIT data standards and interoperability, informatics-driven quality measurement, and population health informatics. AMIA will use these policy principles and positions to articulate to its members, policymakers, and other stakeholders those issues and conversations we consider most important.

AMIA also established more than twenty ad hoc response teams, leveraging the expertise of more than 150 AMIA members, to help the federal government develop policy across a range of issues spanning clinical care, research, and public health. These recommendations were vital in helping to orient the new administration and new Congress to our issues and the importance of health informatics. This year, we discussed with the FCC how access to broadband internet is a social determinant of health, we helped the NLM understand opportunities at the intersection of data science and health, we called on ONC to renew their focus on HIT standards, and we held briefings for Congress on Crossing the Health IT Chasm and briefed the White House on the issues we care most deeply.

AMIA also launched a partnership with OpenNotes (an organization dedicated to empowering patients through access to their clinical notes) and joined the American Medical Association as a launch partner for their Integrated Health Model Initiative, an effort to improve how data is used for patient care.

For more information


4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 500

Bethesda, MD 20814

Tel: 301-657-1291

Fax: 301-657-1296



Twitter: @AMIAinformatics

LinkedIn: Official Group of AMIA

Facebook: American Medical Informatics Association


Informatics Activities in Canada - Report from Digital Health Canada

Name Change - From COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association to Digital Health Canada

In Canada a six-month rebranding process was undertaken to capture input widely and broadly, in order to move the national association forward to meet current and emerging membership needs. To that end, feedback was gathered from stakeholder interviews, focus groups (member and non-member), and an open online survey at the e-Health Conference and Tradeshow. In addition, elected board representatives of COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association (COACH) took an active part in every step of the rebranding process and all members had an opportunity to cast their vote on the name change at a special members-only meeting held via webinar on September 14, 2017. As a result, the name of Canada's national organization was changed from COACH to Digital Health Canada.

Digital health is the industry in which we all work. Health informatics is a core discipline and requisite body of knowledge for professionals working in digital health. Digital health can be defined as any technology-enabled care — digital media, health technology, mobile devices — that gives patients, care givers, and healthcare professionals access to relevant data easily, with the goal of improving the quality of health care. Digital health is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of sub-categories, including m-health, e-health, telehealth, EHR (electronic health records), and more. The new name and brand signifies the Canadian association's evolution to meet the needs of a complex and broadening digital health industry and to expand the association's reach to include professionals working in a broader and growing domain area related to digital health Canada. To stay current, it was felt the association must widen its scope to introduce existing members and community to new industry players, allowing both parties to connect, collaborate, remain current, and contribute to leading practice advancements. An openness to change demonstrated adaptability and commitment to staying current but consistent in a rapidly changing world.


Current Membership

Digital Health Canada now includes over 2,400 members. The membership is broad, including professionals from all areas of healthcare, students, informatics researchers, thought leaders, and practitioners at all levels. The association has continued to maintain a global and holistic perspective on the field of health informatics and digital health and works to connect, inspire and educate health professionals who are shaping the future of health in Canada. The organization aims to catalyze the digital health community and incubate knowledge by demonstrating leadership in health informatics, supporting collaboration through sharing of health informatics and digital health knowledge and experience, remaining committed to continuous learning, being guided by professionalism and ethics and responding to the emerging needs of its members and the health system.


Conferences and Events

eHealth 2017: The Future of Digital Health and the People Who Benefit, was held in Toronto from June 4 to June 7, 2017 and focused on the past, current, and future state of Canada's digital health community. Canada's national e-Health conference and exhibition welcomed 1,500 attendees with 8 keynote speakers, over 250 educational sessions and over 85 exhibitors (with a “Start Up Zone” made available for new companies). The fourth annual Hackathon at the conference focused on “Hacking Mental Health in the Workplace”. The Canadian Health Informatics (CHIA) Gala also celebrated thought leaders, innovative industry leaders, and emerging health informatics professionals.

Webinar Wednesdays continued to provide an online and convenient way for health professionals to keep up with emerging issues, trends, and ideas in health informatics and digital health. The topics have varied, including telehealth, standards, privacy and security, data quality, patient centered care, consumer health informatics, and other timely and important areas aimed to keep attendees up to date.

COACH/ANHIX 2017 Conference - Alberta's Clinical Information System: The New Frontier was held on February 8, 2017 in Calgary Alberta and featured public and private sector leaders who shared their vision for the provincial Clinical Information System. It had over 130 attendees, who discussed integrated health records, precision medicine, and digital health leadership.

UPONDIGITAL: The Ontario Update on Digital Health 2017 took place in Toronto on March 6, 2017 and featured speakers discussing the innovation agenda from the public sector and government perspective. Challenges and opportunities in innovation in Ontario were discussed. Public and private sector leaders from across the province participated in the discussions. Over 130 attendees participate in the event.

Ahead of the Curve: Patient Engagement and Connected Care took place at TELUS Garden in Vancouver on March 27, 2017. At this breakfast session, thought leaders shared perspectives and led discussion on engaging patients in their care with emerging technologies and innovative care models with 40 engaged participants.

Canada's Health Informatics Executive Forum (CHIEF) Spring Symposium took place in Toronto on June 2-3, 2017. More than 70 CHIEFs met to build trusted relationships, collaborate on finding solutions for the issue facing healthcare today, and discuss the future of digital health in Canada. Sessions included pan-Canadian CIO panel and leadership discussion, advice to Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on development of provincial data and analytics strategy, and breakout groups developing guidelines for consumer digital health.

Driving the Future of Digital Health took place at Toronto's Exhibition Place on October 30, 2017. More than 120 attendees participated in this new one-day digital health industry conference with an interactive format for greater attendee engagement. Panels explored the horizon of the digital health implications for space medicine and human travel in deep space; innovative partnerships moving care and information from hospital to community and home; new models for consumer engagement and intersection points between consumer-driven access, retail health, and virtual care.


New and Updated Publications

A number of new and updated publications were released over the last year. This included a new report released in November 2016 entitled National Digital Health Leadership Report: A Current State Snapshot. To develop this report, consultation was conducted with digital health leaders. CEO Mark Casselman states, “Our report brings forward what is happening now across Canada, and will help inform a roadmap for health system transformation going forward”.

The popular and well subscribed set of guidelines was updated in the publication Putting It Into Practice - Privacy and Security for Healthcare Providers Implementing Electronic Medical Records Special Edition V3. This resource has helped to increase awareness and understanding of privacy and security and been important source of information for institutional decision-making. This publication continues to be available as an eBook and as a hard-copy book.



Digital Health Canada continues to participate actively in the development of international standards for health information. This work has helped in a number of electronic health record initiatives in Canada and worldwide. This has included work by members with the ISO Technical Committee on Health Informatics (TC 215), HL7, and SNOMED International.


Programs, Services and Resources

Digital Health Canada continues to offer a wide array of programs, services, and resources. This has included both individual and institutional membership opportunities, and membership identities for subgroups such as Canadian Telehealth and Emerging Health Informatics Professionals. In addition, CHIEF (Canada's Health Informatics Executives Forum) continues to provide a channel to thought leaders and expert-level knowledge. In addition to Canada's National eHealth Conference, symposiums with partner provincial jurisdictions have included the following: the Alberta Network for Health Information Exchange (ANHIX) Symposium, the Ontario ONUP conference, the BC Health Information Management Professionals Society, and the Ontario Hospital Association eHealthAchieve.

In terms of education and training, Digital Health Canada continues to offer CPHIMSCA preparation courses, health informatics workshops, and webinars. The association has also continued to work closely with the academic programs at universities and colleges across Canada. Work that continues to be influential includes the CPHIMS-CA Certification, the HIP® Competency framework, HIP® core competencies (which have been used to guide curricula in health informatics throughout Canada and internationally), HIP® career matrix, HIP® role profiles and the Interactive HIP® Career Matrix. The association has also continued to support a variety of communities of action and provide a wide range of key documents, guidelines, and white papers. These include Guidelines for the Protection of Health Information, Privacy & Security Special Edition, eSafety Guidelines, Health Informatics Human Resources Guidelines, HI Education Report, Canadian Telehealth Report, EHR Governance White Paper, EMR Adoption White Paper, Journals, HICSS, and the IMIA Yearbook.


2017-2020 Strategic Plan

The 2017-2020 Strategic Plan was released and focuses on several key objectives:

  • Enhance Membership Value Through Network Growth and Connections

    • Processes will be implemented to grow and diversify membership and engage new membership segments, providing a unique and valuable member experience through new programs and services.

  • Connect Communities (Digital and Physical)

    • The digital health market will be accessed annually to identify new regional and local opportunities in bringing together ideas from stakeholder segments for incubation and advocacy.

  • Empower Professional Development and Advocacy

    • Member engagement protocols will be developed to deliver on professional development needs and develop awareness of CPHIMS-CA and advocate for health informatics body of knowledge (HIBOK) as key enabler for digital health.

  • Implement Digital Business Platform

    • A platform will be implemented that supports members and delivers differentiated member experience through personalized, convenient, and professionally relevant interactions (website, mobile, and in-person).

  • Build Brand Awareness and Brand Value

    • A plan will be developed and implemented for re-examination of identity, branding, and marketing and strengthening brand awareness in the market through regular engagement campaigns, market awareness, and creating strategic approaches to identifying co-branding opportunities.

In summary, the next three years will see Digital Health Canada focusing on continued growth, expanded education, new partnerships, enhanced volunteer engagement, identification of new opportunities, and more local events to drive member engagement and non-member awareness.

For more information:

Digital Health Canada

11th Floor, 151 Yonge Street

Toronto, Ontario M5C 2W7



Twitter: @COACH_HI