gms | German Medical Science

16. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre: Curriculum planning and assessment

19. - 21. April 2012, Timisoara, Romania

Teaching biomedical informatics in 2012: Difficulties and possible solutions


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  • corresponding author Bari Ferenc - University of Szeged, Department of Medical Physics and Informatics, Szeged, Hungary

16. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2012 - Curriculum planning and assessment. Timisoara, Romania, 19.-21.04.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. Doc12grako02

doi: 10.3205/12grako02, urn:nbn:de:0183-12grako027

Published: September 5, 2012

© 2012 Ferenc.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


Although biomedical informatics lacks a clear and theoretically-grounded definition, there is a general consensus on its involvement in the training of health professionals.

Since medical education is fully packed with traditional disciplines (anatomy, physiology, surgery, etc.) and also with new, challenging subjects like molecular biology or genetics, it is very difficult to find the appropriate time slice in the curriculum for the proper training of medical informatics.

Although there are acceptable recommendations on what makes up an informatics curriculum, medical schools teach what they consider important, what can be financed and what can be forced into the tight time frame. Medical professionals and institutions emphasize the need of the continuing medical education (CME) for maintaining and improving knowledge, skills, competence and performance. In contrast, in several countries, including Hungary there is no national concept in CME that would cover certain specific fields such as medical informatics. With the overall growth of informatics, the medical education system should also provide programs at both graduate and post-graduate levels. While there is a wide consensus as to the importance of this urgent need, several factors hamper the construction and operation of a CME system in medical informatics. In particular:

lack of involvement of health informatics in the core curriculum of most medical schools
limited human and instrumental resources of educational institutions, including medical and nursing schools
competence and skill level are not defined and measured
there are no comprehensive education programs available

In our workshop, we describe the most important factors influencing education in general, and in Hungary and at our faculty in particular. Our department is responsible for teaching medical informatics for students in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing. In addition, we provide courses for post-graduate students in various PhD programs focusing on specific aspects of info-communication involved in all phases of research. We summarize our teaching experience gained during the past ten years and we display how we teach biomedical informatics to different groups of health professionals. We call attention to the need of defined basic skills and knowledge in informatics for each level of the health care education. We emphasize that even with limited resources it is possible to create and maintain valuable training programs especially with effective trans-border cooperation.