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these biological levels, but the boundaries are fuzzy, and biomedical informatics encompasses them all.
X: How is biomedical informatics currently used?
LOM: Advanced medical centers use the technology to improve quality of care through real-time data analysis and decision support for patient care as well as clinical research. Some examples of biomedical informatics projects involve pattern recognition algorithms, systems to automate clinical practice guidelines, construction of computational models of disease progression, real-time monitoring of health data, and integration of health information technology.
X: What are the most promising future applications? And how far into the future will we see them?
LOM: The most promising future applications will make use of increasing amounts of data that are becoming available due to new genome-sequencing technologies. These applications will integrate genetic information, phenotypic data from electronic medical records, and other clinical data in order to create multivariate models that can determine which therapy is best for a particular patient, or ultimately to find causal determinants of disease (and clues to their potential cure) by looking at genetic, environmental, and clinical data from a large number of individuals. We can currently see some limited applications that partially do this, but it will take some more years to be able to see comprehensive applications.
X: What needs to happen for this technology to reach its potential?
LOM: These are exciting times: there is increasing recognition of the importance of informatics in health sciences, and great enthusiasm for its implementation in institutions where it never formally existed. The change is more than technological, and represents the realization that 21st century science is about addressing big challenges with interdisciplinary teams producing large amounts of data that need to be integrated and interpreted with new algorithms and computational tools. What needs to happen for biomedical informatics to reach its full potential is further increase in true collaboration across disciplines, by sharing data and sharing tools. This is … Next Page »
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