Gateway to Health Informatics: Course Syllabus

The G2HI course program comprises the following:

  • 10 weeks of course work, delivered online from OHSU.  Each unit is offered and completed weekly.
  • 5 class-room-based, face-to-face tutorials conducted in Singapore on Saturday mornings.
  • Course breaks to allow participants to work on course assignments.
  • Assignments comprise unit assessment (quiz) and individual course project
  • 3-hour open-book, invigilated, written examination



The goal of this course is to provide a detailed overview of biomedical and health informatics to those who will work at the interface of healthcare and information technology (IT). The course also aims to provide an entry point for those wishing further study (and/or career development) in the field. It provides a broad understanding of the field from the vantage point of those who implement, lead, and develop IT solutions for improving health, healthcare, public health, and biomedical research. It provides up-to-date details on current events in the field, including electronic health records, data standards and interoperability, clinical decision support, healthcare data analytics, population health, patient engagement, and telemedicine. It also describes and sets the context for new technologies, such as SMART on FHIR, wearables, and blockchain. Although the course has a clinical orientation, many non-clinicians working in health IT environments have found the course accessible and the knowledge gained invaluable to their professional development.

Course Logistics

The course is offered in two parts:

  1. A 10-unit Web-based component starting 3 September 2018. The Web-based portion is provided through readings, lectures, interactive discussion, and self-assessment tests.
  2. Five classroom-based tutorial sessions and a final examination, to be held at the Gateway Training Studio @ Crown Centre (for details please see Timetable).

The course is an adaptation of the on-line Introduction to Biomedical and Health Informatics class currently taught in the OHSU biomedical and health informatics education program. This survey course provides a broad overview of the field, highlighting the key issues and challenges for the field. The course is taught in a completely asynchronous manner, i.e., there are no “scheduled” classes. However, students must keep up with the course materials so they can benefit from the interactive discussion with faculty and other students. The course uses the following teaching modalities:

  • Voice-over-Powerpoint lectures – The key material is delivered using the Flash plug-in, which is freely available and already installed in almost all Web browsers. The content is easily accessed by any type of connection to the Internet.
  • Interactive threaded discussion – Students engage in discussion on important issues using the on-line threaded discussion forums. An on-line faculty moderator helps keep the discussion on track.
  • Reading assignments – The course uses a variety of readings made available to students.
  • Homework/quizzes – Each of the units is accompanied by a 10-question multiple-choice self-assessment that aims to have the student apply the knowledge from the unit.

The on-line part of the course is accessed via the Sakai course delivery tool. At the onset of the course, each student is provided a login and password by the OHSU distance learning staff, who also provide technical support for the course. Students are expected to keep up with the materials and should anticipate spending 4-8 hours per unit on the course. All on-line activities are asynchronous, so there is no specified time that a student must be on-line.

Students must complete all of the self-assessment tests, the course project, and participate in class discussions to receive the AMIA 10×10 Certificate of Completion. Because the course is continuing education, it does not use academic letter grades (e.g., A, B, etc.). However, those wanting academic credit by taking the optional final exam (see below) will be assigned a letter grade based on their score on the exam.

Detailed Course Outline

1  Overview of Field and Problems Motivating It

1.1 What is Biomedical and Health Informatics?

1.2 A Discipline Whose Time Has Come

1.3 Problems in Healthcare Motivating Biomedical and Health Informatics

1.4 Who Does Biomedical and Health Informatics?

1.5 Seminal Documents and Reports

1.6 Resources for Field – Organizations, Information, Education


2  Biomedical Computing

2.1 Types of Computers

2.2 Data Storage in Computers

2.3 Computer Hardware and Software

2.4 Computer Networks

2.5 Software Engineering


3  Electronic and Personal Health Records (EHR, PHR)

3.1 Clinical Data

3.2 History and Perspective of the Health (Medical) Record

3.3 Definitions and Key Attributes of the EHR

3.4 Benefits and Challenges of the EHR

3.5 EHR Examples

3.6 Personal Health Records


4  Standards and Interoperability

4.1 Standards and Interoperability: Basic Concepts

4.2 Identifier and Transaction Standards

4.3 Message Exchange Standards

4.4 Terminology Standards



5  Advancing Care With the EHR

5.1 Patient Safety and Medical Errors

5.2 Clinical Decision Support (CDS)

5.3 Healthcare Quality Measurement and Improvement

5.4 Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)

5.5 Health Information Exchange (HIE)

5.6 HITECH and Meaningful Use


6  Healthcare Data Analytics

6.1 Data Science and Data Analytics

6.2 Machine Learning

6.3 Natural Language Processing

6.4 Evidence-Based Medicine

6.5 Clinical Practice Guidelines

6.6 Population Health


7  EHR Implementation and Evaluation

7.1 Clinical Workflow Analysis and Redesign

7.2 EHR System Selection and Implementation

7.3 Privacy and Security

7.4 Nursing Informatics

7.5 Public Health Informatics

7.6 Consumer Health Informatics

7.7 Evaluation of the EHR


8  Information Retrieval (Search)

8.1 Information Retrieval

8.2 Knowledge-based Information

8.3 Content

8.4 Indexing

8.5 Retrieval

8.6 Research: Evaluation and Future Directions


9  Imaging Informatics and Telemedicine

9.1 Imaging in Health Care

9.2 Modalities of Imaging

9.3 Digital Imaging

9.4 Telemedicine: Definitions, Uses, and Barriers

9.5 Efficacy of Telemedicine


10  Research Informatics

10.1 Clinical Research Informatics

10.2 Overview of Basic Molecular Biology

10.3 Translational Bioinformatics

10.4 From Clinical Genetics and Genomics to Precision Medicine

10.5 Genomics Data in the EHR and Other Information Systems


Academic Honesty

Course participants are expected to maintain academic honesty in their course work. Participants should refrain from seeking past published solutions to any assignments. Literature and resources (including Internet resources) employed in fulfilling assignments must be cited. See for information on code of conduct for OHSU and for more information on citing sources and recognizing plagiarism.

Beyond 10×10

The goal of the AMIA 10×10 program is to train clinicians and others in informatics so they can be knowledgeable participants in IT implementations in their local settings. The 10×10 program alone will not make one a full-time professional in informatics (any more than a semester of medicine or nursing will make one a physician or nurse!). The program is being structured, however, to allow those who complete the course to carry the credits forward into other graduate programs in informatics. The details need to be arranged with each individual program.

Since the course is an adaptation of the introductory course in the OHSU biomedical and health informatics educational program, those who complete the 10×10 course will be able to obtain credit for the course in the OHSU program. This credit is taken by passing the optional final examination at the end of the 10×10 course. Upon enrolling in the OHSU Graduate Certificate or Master’s Degree program, students passing the final examination will be awarded three credits in the OHSU graduate program. (OHSU is on an academic quarter system, with each quarter consisting of 11 weeks of instruction. A three-credit course is comparable to a course with three contact hours per week plus additional work for reading assignments, homework, and projects.) Most of OHSU’s informatics courses are taught on-campus and on-line, and each course is considered equivalent whether it is taught live or via distance.

More details about the individual degree programs are available on the OHSU Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology Web site, but the following table provides an overview of the programs.


Program Name Description Admission Requirements Graduation Requirements
Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Informatics Core courses in informatics Bachelor’s degree in any field 24 credits (generally 8 3-credit courses)
Master of Biomedical Informatics “Professional” master’s degree with capstone project Bachelor’s degree in any field plus introductory courses in Computer Science and Anatomy & Physiology 52 credits (46 hours of instruction plus 6 hours of capstone project)
Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics “Research” master’s degree with master’s thesis Bachelor’s degree in any field plus introductory courses in Computer Science and Anatomy & Physiology 60 credits (48 hours of instruction plus 12 hours of master’s thesis)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biomedical Informatics PhD program for advanced leaders and research in the field Bachelor’s degree in any field plus introductory courses in Computer Science and Anatomy & Physiology 135 credits, including dissertation


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