Medical informatics and bioinformatics: European efforts to facilitate synergy.
Over the past decade there have been several attempts to rethink the basic strategies and scope of medical informatics. Meanwhile, bioinformatics has only recently experienced a similar debate about its scientific character. Both disciplines envision the development of novel diagnostic, therapeutic, and management tools, and products for patient care. A combination of the expertise of medical informatics in developing clinical applications and the focused principles that have guided bioinformatics could create a synergy between the two areas of application. Such interaction could have a great influence on future health research and the ultimate goal, namely continuity and individualization of health care. This article summarizes current activities related to facilitating synergy between medical informatics and bioinformatics, emphasizing activities in Europe while relating them to efforts in other parts of the world. The report provides examples of the analysis that European investigators are carrying out, aiming to propose new ideas for collaborations between medical informatics and bioinformatics researchers in a variety of areas.