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NYAM on Cutting Edge of Biomedical and Cognitive Informatics

Dr. Vimla Patel and Dr. Edward Shortliffe Publish New Informatics Books

 Dr. Patel and Dr. Shortliffe

Dr. Vimla Patel, PhD, Senior Researcher and Director of NYAM’s Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health, and NYAM Trustee and Visiting Scholar Edward Shortliffe, MD, PhD, recently edited key texts in the field of informatics. Dr. Shortliffe is former President and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association, and both he and Dr. Patel currently hold adjunct professorships at Columbia University and at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Informatics is the science of data, information, and knowledge management, with an emphasis on decision making and problem solving. In recent years, with the exploding use of information technology in biomedical and health settings, it is often associated with computing and communications. But the science is much broader and incorporates notions of psychology, decision science, management, economics, and sociology as well as computer science. It is accordingly relevant to essentially all biomedical and health fields, since promoting health and delivering health care are among the most information-intensive human endeavors. 

“There is a growing role for the social sciences, including the cognitive and behavioral sciences, in biomedical informatics. Cognitive informatics in health care focuses on the cognitive characteristics (memory, knowledge, strategies) involved in changing behavior, learning, and designing effective decision-support and other health information technologies for safe clinical practice.” Dr. Patel said. “It is also relevant to the kinds of public health, educational, and prevention programs on which NYAM focuses. Cognitive issues abound, whether one is dealing with decision making in the ICU, engaging young people in school health programs, or addressing the role of technology in promoting healthy aging in our community.”

Dr. Patel’s book, co-edited with David R. Kaufman from Arizona State University and Trevor Cohen from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is entitled Cognitive Informatics in Health and Biomedicine: Case Studies on Critical Care, Complexity, and Errors. It is the first book to address the theory and application of cognitive informatics (CI), a burgeoning discipline that incorporates concepts and methods from several academic and professional disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence. It contains examples pertaining to the practice of critical-care medicine and the management of life-threatening conditions—rich areas for examining cognitive issues that affect human performance, especially under time pressure and when working in teams.

The volume, written by scholars who are leaders in their respective fields, reflects the interdisciplinary strengths of cognitive science and offers a fresh insight into ways to investigate and mitigate errors. It has several chapters that focus on the role of health information technology in complex, dynamic environments, showing that human interactions with computer-based tools can both have a positive effect on patient care and introduce new problems to which system designers and implementers must be sensitive.
 
Dr. Shortliffe’s book, co-edited with Dr. James J. Cimino from the Clinical Center at NIH, is entitled Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine. Now in its fourth edition, this volume meets the growing demand of practitioners, researchers, educators, and students for a comprehensive introduction to key topics in the informatics field as well as the underlying scientific issues that sit at the intersection of biomedical science, patient care, public health, and information technology (IT). The new edition reflects the remarkable changes in both computing and health care that continue to occur and the exploding interest in the role that IT must play in care coordination and the melding of genomics with innovations in clinical practice and treatment.

“Given the ubiquity of smart devices (laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and the like) and their use by both professionals and the public, it is logical and appropriate for NYAM, with its emphasis on urban health, to have an interest in biomedical and health informatics,” Dr. Shortliffe said. “There isn’t a project we undertake—whether school health programs or healthy aging or clinical topics—that doesn’t benefit from improvements in how we (and our patients or the public) gather, manage, store, and access information and knowledge. NYAM accordingly needs to leverage informatics, and information technology, in ways that enhance our programs and our ability to affect positively the health of our city.”

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Posted on April 29, 2014

Contact:
Abigail J. Franklin
Vice President for Development & Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
(212) 822-7244
afranklin@nyam.org

 

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Contact NYAM Experts

Reporters: to arrange interviews with NYAM medical and urban health experts, contact
Abigail J. Franklin, Vice President for Development & Communications

(212) 822-7244 / afranklin@nyam.org

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