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From The CriticsReviewer: LouAnn Schraffenberger, MBA, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P(Advocate Health Care)
Description: This is an introduction to the field of medical informatics, that is, the science of information, for the practicing primary care physician and other healthcare professionals.
Purpose: According to the editors, the goal of the book is to provide primary care physicians with a practical introductory understanding of medical informatics, focusing on areas of importance in primary care. The book also seeks to present clinical contexts in which some of the various applications of medical informatics can be applied.
Audience: The primary audience is intended to be practicing physicians in primary care disciplines, such as family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics. In addition to these physicians, medical students, resident physicians, nurses and other professionals involved in primary care will find the book useful in understanding the rapidly growing field of medical informatics. The editors are professors and department heads at the University of Washington, Seattle. This campus and its faculty are recognized as leaders in the field of medical informatics.
Features: The book contains 14 chapters written by individual authors. The beginning chapters provide an overview of medical informatics based on interactions between the physician and the patient. Next, the interaction is shown as it is documented in a electronic medical record and how data from laboratory and imaging systems can be integrated. Other areas of focus relate to the content of information used in primary care are described in chapters on evidence-based medicine, decision support, knowledge resources, and patient education. To conclude, privacy and security of information is discussed.
Assessment: The chapters in the book are short and easy to read. A practitioner can read one chapter at a time or several allowing him to build his knowledge of the practical applications of medical informatics. Each chapter starts with a patient care scenario or two and shows how medical informatics can improve patient care. This makes it "real" and practical information. I found the book to be well written with a lot of details condensed into a readable format. After reading the book, primary care physicians will appreciate the value of medical informatics in their practice.