Health Informatics in Undergraduate Medical Education

CHIME have published the abstract of the recent Delphi study looking at Health Informatics in undergraduate medical education:

Health Informatics Education for Medical Students - International Delphi Study

Authors: Dr Puspavally Ramasamy and Jeannette MurphyThis page describes a recent research study. The proformas used in the study can be downloaded from this site.


Introduction: Progress in introducing health informatics into the medical curriculum has been slow. There is still uncertainty as to which learning outcomes are relevant for prequalification students.

Aim: To produce a definitive list of Health Informatics knowledge and competencies relevant to undergraduate medical education.

Methods: A Delphi study was carried out to determine which health informatics learning outcomes are most relevant for undergraduate medical students. There were two phases to the study: (i) development of the a set of learning outcomes to be presented to the panels; (ii) a two round Delphi exercise to see which of the learning outcomes were endorsed by the respondents. 61 international experts were recruited for the study - from the domains of health informatics and medical education.

Findings: Of the 48 learning outcomes submitted to the panels, 25 were rated as Essential or Desirable by at least 85% of the respondents. Respondents also provided their views on how the subject should be taught and the obstacles to incorporating health informatics into the curriculum. The learning outcomes deemed the most important were: Information finding skills; knowledge of legal and ethical principles when dealing with and communicating patient data; knowledge of quality information sources to support clinical care; awareness of best practice in communicating with clinicians, patients and health service managers; skills in electronic communication (informed by local security and confidentiality guidelines). Items relating to specific technologies and applications (e.g. the structure and design of electronic health records, computerized order entry systems, medical imaging, telemedicine) were seen as less relevant for medical students. On the whole, the views of the two groups were similar, although the IMIA group put greater weight on issues relating to technology, while Medical Education group saw knowledge management as the priority.

Conclusion: The enthusiastic response to the Delphi study (particularly from the UK Medical Education Online Forum) suggests more guidance would be welcome to promote a better understanding and acceptance of HI education within the undergraduate medical curriculum. The results derived from this study may assist medical schools when reviewing the role of health informatics in their curricula. The barriers to integrating health informatics into the curriculum are quite real and appear not to have changed over the past decade.

This work is to be presented at Informatics Education Europe II - A Conference on the State of Informatics Education In Europe ( Greece , Nov 2007), Sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

The paper will appear in the conference proceedings. This paper is based on an MSc dissertation to be submitted to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh/University of Bath by Dr Puspavally Ramasamy. The research supervisor was Jeannette Murphy, CHIME.

The proformas used for this Two Round Delphi Study are available in PDF format for other researchers. Anyone wishing to use these proformas is asked to contact the authors and to acknowledge the source.


Dr Puspavally Ramasamy, [email protected] Jeannette Murphy, [email protected]


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