What the ($*&%#$ is Clinical Informatics???

 See also A Short Essay on the Word "Informatics"

Here's my attempt at a simple explanation; caveat lector: "Medical Informatics" is the
field which concerns itself with information in Medicine, that is:
  • Attempting to understand how information is acquired, organized, retrieved,
    processed, and communicated in medical settings
  • Developing tools* to acquire, organize, retrieve, process, and communicate
    information better in medical settings**

Having said that, the term "Clinical Informatics" is usually used to refer to that
subset of Medical Informatics that deals with the practice of Medicine by health care
providers (as opposed to those areas of Medical Informatics that, say, deal with
pharmacy operations, billing for medical services, administration of health insurance
plans, etc.--although in practice, there is often overlap between "clinical" and
"nonclinical" areas of Medical Informatics).

*--Many of these tools, at present, involve technology, e.g. computers. However, as
Enrico Coeira, a prominent Australian Medical Informaticist has put it, "Medical
Informatics is no more about computers than Cardiology is about stethoscopes."

**--What is "better"? Another good question! Depends on who you talk to, and
sometimes, what time of day you talk to them. Better might mean faster, easier, cheaper,
with less likelihood of "error"***, with more convenience to the patient, with other
benefits to the patient, or all of the above.

***--What is "error"? Boy, I'm not getting of easy here, am I? Well, I think that's a very
interesting question. If you'd like to discuss it, send me an