Perceptions and Usage of "Public Health Informatics"
As an emerging discipline, the word “informatics” is unfamiliar to most people. Few dictionaries have included the term, and the definitions provided are limited despite attempts to reach an agreement. This lack of an established, shared definition contributes to challenges for those seeking to strengthen the science of informatics within the domain of public health. As an emerging field, the term “informatics” is also not familiar to many professionals in the field of public health, despite the fact that informatics is in one way or another—often unbeknownst to them—an integral part of their job.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) engaged PHII to assist them in developing communication strategies that clearly define the term public health informatics, with an end goal of developing workforce capability and driving demand for informatics training programs. As part of that work, PHII has compiled examples of the use of the term informatics through a content analysis activity to gauge current use of the term and how this usage is likely to shape resulting public understanding. The analysis examined usage in both academic and media contexts.
This analysis is intended to assist with and inform communications efforts that may be needed to overcome common misconceptions.
This report was undertaken in conjunction with a report compiled by the Frameworks Institute, "Making Public Health Informatics Visible: Communicating an Emerging Field."