Medical informatics—an Australian perspective

T. Hannan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Computers, like the X‐ray and stethoscope1 can be seen as clinical tools, that provide physicians with improved expertise in solving patient management problems. As tools they enable us to extend our clinical information base, and they also provide facilities that improve the delivery of the health care we provide. Automation (computerisation) in the health domain will cause the computer to become a more integral part of health care management and delivery before the start of the next century. To understand how the computer assists those who deliver and manage health care, it is important to be aware of its functional capabilities and how we can use them in medical practice. The rapid technological advances in computers over the last two decades2–4 has had both beneficial and counterproductive effects on the implementation of effective computer applications in the delivery of health care. For example, in the 1990s the computer hobbyist is able to make an investment of less than $ 10,000 on computer hardware that will match or exceed the technological capacities of machines of the 1960s. These rapid technological advances, which have produced a quantum leap in our ability to store and process information, have tended to make us overlook the need for effective computer programmes which will meet the needs of patient care. As the 1990s begin, those delivering health care (eg, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators.) need to become more involved in directing the effective implementation of computer applications that will provide the tools for improved information management, knowledge processing, and ultimately better patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-378
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical decision‐making
  • computerised medical records
  • Medical informaticsy
  • quality assurance


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