Lecture 1: Introduction

This week's lecture provides basic definitions and concepts that will be used through the semester. It includes basic concepts of data, information, knowledge, and information systems.

Fundamental Theorem of Informatics

In his 2009 article [1] Charles Friedman described what he calls the fundamental theorem of biomedical informatics. It is a powerful and deep idea that humans equipped with technology can perform better than without technology. Interesting questions arise on weather computers alone are superior to humans and in what respect. It is really important to understand that in order to compare computers to people, one needs to find very precise criteria. For example, computers are by far superior in storage and computing. On the other hand, people are superior in all activities that require "Understanding" of content/ Some of the tasks include deriving content from multimedia or reasoning with very little and vague information. The included video presents some of these topics discussed in class.

If the above video does not work, download this file: Lecture Part 1.mp4


Data, Information, Knowledge, and Information Systems

Symbols are things that stand for something else. They allow distinguishing between choices. Data are organized symbols. Once these data are given meaning they become information. Knowledge requires trust in information. Once validated or assigned the degree of truth, the information becomes knowledge. Information systems are complex. They combine information itself with workflows, people and technology. Healthcare information systems experience shift from being organization and provider-centered to patient centered [2,3]. This reflects the trends in healthcare to provide personalized care. These and several other issues related to health information systems are discussed in this video.

If the above video does not work, download this file: Lecture Part 2.mp4



HAP 752 - 01 - Introduction.pdf.


Use one or two paragraphs to answer each question. Write in own words. Do not copy-and-paste and make sure you cite all used resources.

1. What is the difference between data, information and knowledge?

2. What are the things that computers are better at than people? Why?

3. What makes some health information systems more advanced than others? List and briefly describe reasons.

4. Think about your semester-long project. Provide initial idea and describe in in about 2 paragraphs. If you plan on group project, provide initial group member assignments.

5. Select topic and date for your in-class presentation. Briefly describe sources you will be using.

6. Add your photo (passport style) to your profile in Blackboard.

References and Reading

  • [1] Charles P. Friedman, "A Fundamental Theorem of Biomedical Informatics" JAMIA, 16, 2, 2009.
  • [2] Demitris et al., Patient-centered Applications: Use of Information technology to Promote Disease Management and Wellness. A White Paper by the AMIA Knowledge in Motion Working Group, JAMIA 15, 8, 2008.
  • [3] Alex H. Krist, Steven H. Woolf , "A Vision of Patient-Centered Health Information Systems" JAMIA, 305, 3, 2011.