A framework for the biomedical informatics curriculum.
The problem of developing a curriculum for biomedical informatics is highly dependent on how we choose to define and practice the field. Numerous authors have questioned how to position biomedical informatics along the continuum of formal, empirical and engineering disciplines. A concern with current educational programs in biomedical informatics is that students finish without a clear understanding of the relation between theory and practice, or worse, with the impression that the field does not possess any theoretical basis. In this paper, we propose that biomedical informatics curricula explicitly address skills and competencies at three levels: formal, empirical, and applied. We posit that that knowledge of formalization is necessary to build testable empirical models, and that model-driven approaches are necessary for deploying information systems that can be evaluated in a meaningful way. A curricular framework is proposed that identifies a set of methods, techniques and theories that have broad applicability within the domain of biomedicine, and which can span a wide range of application areas: bioinformatics, imaging informatics, clinical informatics and public health informatics. A stronger linkage between theory and practice will result in students who are empowered to create effective and lasting solutions to biomedical problems.