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Biomedical Informatics – The Basics First

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/6/2008

Biomedical informatics deals with the interaction of biology, the medical fraternity, and the use of databases and computers for interlinking them in a manner as would help the medical fraternity to deliver the best possible treatment for ailments and diseases.

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    Biomedical informatics deals with the interaction of biology, the medical fraternity, and the use of databases and computers for interlinking them in a manner as would help the medical fraternity to deliver the best possible treatment for ailments and diseases.

    Biomedical informatics consists of three words of which one has been shortened – bio. Bio stands biology, not biography! There are various variations of Biomedical informatics, such as those that are related to researchers alone, then with clinical research informatics, treatment informatics, and hospital informatics.

    We have chosen a few only because the scope of this subject is huge. And as you delve deeper, you are likely, if you are not a professional in the fields, to get a little lost. But still if you were to read, you would enhance your learning, and to that thankfully, there is no end. So you are encouraged to read as much as you want.

    In the earlier days too, the medieval physicians or medicine men, kept copious records of diseases and ailments, and the treatments offered or available. But these were lost to history, and in some civilizations, since they were handed down from generation to generation, they are irretrievably lost.

    The coming generations would have the advantage of finding meticulous records kept in computer files, databases and other newer forms of storage, ready for them and waiting.

    This has been facilitated by the use of the newer devices, such as digital imaging of records, computerized databases, and micro-mimeographs of documents relating to research, findings, links, and treatment records. One of the best known examples of biomedical informatics is the maintenance of databases of various genetic codes being stored in computer databases. Although a debate rages over its availability and use, it surely is a significant measure of how much biomedical informatics has advanced, and how it has helped the medical fraternity to look for, identify, co-relate symptoms of disease or ailments, well in advance and act accordingly in the prescription of treatment.