Data, information and knowledge: The health informatics model and its role in evidence-based medicine

Andrew Georgiou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The health informatics model consists of three essential parts: data, information and knowledge. These elements are arranged in a hierarchy, with data at the base of the model providing the basis for establishing information and leading in turn to the potential generation of knowledge. The informatics model converges closely with the principles, aims and tasks of evidence-based medicine (EBM), particularly as they relate to searching, appraising, reviewing and utilizing information and research. The development of health informatics today has its origins in the growth of statistics in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a new and growing discipline, statistics burgeoned amidst the challenge of measuring, monitoring and ultimately governing societies in the throes of massive change and expansion. The governance role embraced by statistics in the past resembles many aspects of the role ascribed to audit, quality assurance and EBM today. There are some deep-seated paradoxes within the field of health informatics. The informatics model posits an oversimplified and linear progression of data to information and knowledge. Health informatics may involve the spreading and dissemination of information but this should be seen as only a part, not the equivalent, of the complex process of generating knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Health care management
  • Health informatics
  • Information technology
  • Statistics


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