PurposeInformatics is a relatively new interdisciplinary field which is not very well understood outside of specific disciplinary communities. With a review of the history of informatics and a discussion of the various branches of informatics related to health-care practice, the paper aims to provide an overview designed to enhance the understanding of an information professional interested in this field.Design/methodology/approachThe paper is designed to provide a basic introduction to the topic of informatics for information professionals unfamiliar with the field. Using a combination of historical and current sources, the role of informatics in the health professions is explored through its history and development.FindingsThe emergence of informatics as a discipline is a relatively recent phenomenon. Informatics is neither information technology (IT) nor information science but shares many common interests, concerns and techniques with these other two fields. The role of the informaticist is to transform data to knowledge and information. Consequently, while the outcomes may be different, there are many commonalities in informatics with the work information professionals perform.Originality/valueMost introductions to informatics assume the reader is either an IT professional or a clinical practitioner in one of the health science fields. This paper takes a unique approach by positioning the discussion of the history and application of informatics in the health sciences from the perspective of the information professional.
Digital Library Perspectives – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 7, 2016
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