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Graduate Program in Biomedical Informatics

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Examples of Biomedical Informatics Research and Applications

A thorough review of biomedical informatics accomplishments is outside the scope of this introduction. In Tables 1 to 4 we provide a brief summary of the areas where biomedical informatics has been successfully applied to solve important problems. Table 5 summarizes important open problems in the field.

Table 1: Research and Applications Examples In Medical Discovery

  1. Literature Storage and Retrieval:
    • MEDLINE, PubMed, Grateful Med (National Library of Medicine)
    • Roundsman, Thomas (Patient-specific application of published CTs)
    • Pre-Trieve (Proactive utility-based retrieval)
    • FastPro (Meta-analysis of Clinical Trials)
  2. Machine Learning, Data Mining and Automated Discovery:
    • Prognosis of adverse patient outcomes
    • Creation of clinical guidelines
    • Elicitation of disease causes
    • Identification of redundant diagnostic tests
    • Improvement of clinical processes
    • Diagnosis
  3. Bioinformatics
    • Sequence databases (EMBL, GenBank, EBI, SWISS-PROT, PROSITE, NCBI Entrez)
    • Sequence Similarity Systems (BLAST, BLITZ ULTRA, BioSCAN, GenQuest)
    • Alignment systems (AMAS, DALI)
    • Phylogeny systems (PHYLIP, ClustalW)
    • Gene, Structure, Function prediction systems (NNSSP, SSPRED, GeneQuiz, GRAIL, GENEMARK)

Table 2: Research and Applications In Health Professional Education

  1. Computer-Aided Instruction: Virtual Patient Project
  2. Imaging for Education: Visible Human Project
  3. Intelligent Textbooks: NLM Hepatitis KB project; Quick Medical Reference

Table 3: Research and Applications In Clinical Practice

  1. Integrated Hospital Information Systems: PROMIS, HELP, Regenstrief Systems
  2. Computerized Patient-Order Entry: Brigham & Women's, WizOrder Systems
  3. Computerized Patient Record: COSTAR, TMR, MARS/STARCHART System
  4. Telemedicine: interpretation of images in radiology, patient-provider and provider-provider tele-consultation, patient monitoring and education
  5. Medical Expert Systems: MYCIN, INTERNIST/QMR, Dxplain, ILIAD
  6. Formal Medical Decision Making (e.g., Tufts-NEMC Medical Decision Making Laboratory)
  7. Support for Evidence-Based Practice
  8. Integration of interdisciplinary care: PathworX

Table 4: Research and Applications In Health Care Organization

  1. Universal Vaccination Introduction Studies
  2. Allocation of Limited Resources Among Competing Prevention Programs
  3. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  4. International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS)
  5. Major organizational related bibliography
  6. Informatics and organizations-a bibliography

Table 5: Open Problems in Biomedical Informatics Research

  1. Integration of decision-support systems in clinical practice
  2. Efficient normative decision-support systems
  3. Efficient & secure transfer, storage & retrieval of clinical data
  4. Large-scale, confidential sharing of patient information for research
  5. Natural-language understanding and processing of the patient record
  6. Structure and function of the human genome
  7. Integration of bioinformatics with clinical research
  8. Efficient collection and conceptual mapping of clinical narrative data
  9. Medical vocabulary standardization
  10. Integrated computerized patient record
  11. Analysis of clinical information needs
  12. Cognitive psychology of medical reasoning
  13. Methods for representing & storing medical information (including text, numerical data, images, signals, higher-level knowledge, and user-interfaces)
  14. Integrating disparate institutional systems to provide optimal care
  15. Developing scalable & sustainable information architectures
  16. Human-Centered Systems challenges (Interdisciplinary research in human and distributed cognition applied to environments, Knowledge repositories for information access, management, and applications, Information agents for collecting and processing data, and Multimodal interactions between humans and computer systems)
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