Unravelling the tangled taxonomies of health informatics
Barrett D., Liaw ST., de Lusignan S.
Even though informatics is a term used commonly in healthcare, it can be a confusing and disengaging one. Many definitions exist in the literature, and attempts have been made to develop a clear taxonomy. Despite this, informatics is still a term that lacks clarity in both its scope and the classification of sub-terms that it encompasses. This paper reviews the importance of an agreed taxonomy and explores the challenges of establishing exactly what is meant by health informatics (HI). It reviews what a taxonomy should do, summarises previous attempts at categorising and organising HI and suggests the elements to consider when seeking to develop a system of classification. The paper does not provide all the answers, but it does clarify the questions. By plotting a path towards a taxonomy of HI, it will be possible to enhance understanding and optimise the benefits of embracing technology in clinical practice.