gms | German Medical Science

GMS Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e.V. (GMDS)

ISSN 1860-9171

Which competencies in medical informatics are required by physicians? An update of the catalog of learning objectives for medical students

GMDS statement

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author Julian Varghese - Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
  • Rainer Röhrig - RWTH Aachen, Gemany
  • Martin Dugas - Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
  • GMDS working group “MI-Teaching in Medicine”

GMS Med Inform Biom Epidemiol 2020;16(1):Doc02

doi: 10.3205/mibe000205, urn:nbn:de:0183-mibe0002059

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Published: March 2, 2020

© 2020 Varghese et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at


The digital transformation has influenced medical pathways in clinical routine and research as never before. This transformation requires multiple competencies in digital health from health professionals. To address learning objectives for teaching, the national project group „Teaching Medical Informatics in Medicine“ of the German Association for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (GMDS) published a competency-based catalog in 2012. The project group has turned into working group with regular meetings to continuously plan, discuss, develop and harmonize teaching content in medical schools on a national level. After six years have passed, an updated catalog has been proposed, reviewed and consented by the working group. The new catalog specifically covers new aspects as patient empowerment, patient apps, precision medicine and further minor amendments. It is proposed as guidance for teaching contents of medical informatics at medical schools and will be subject to continuous developments and harmonization with ongoing digitization initiatives by the clinical disciplines.

Keywords: medical informatics, medical student, education


The increasing degree of digitization in health care requires specific competencies of medical informatics for physicians. Therefore, the national project group „Medical Informatics Teaching in Medicine“ of the German Association for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (GMDS) has consented a comprehensive catalog of learning objectives in 2012 [1]. Since 2016, the project group has turned into a working group, which regularly evaluates and discusses the catalog in the light of current developments and challenges regarding competencies in medical informatics for students of medicine. Requirements and discussions by the Association of German Medical Faculties (Medizinischer Fakultätentag, MFT) [2] and the German Congress of Physicians of 2017 (120. Ärztetag) [3] were taken into account.

Consensus process

After publication of the first version, yearly meetings of the working group took place to constantly collect update requests. In September 2018, all update requests were summarized and discussed. As a result, the chairs of the working group drafted a new version, which was then finalized after two iterations (1: major revision, 2: minor revision) by way of circulation.


Table 1 [Tab. 1] summarizes all chapters. The full version of all learning objectives – including competence levels and roles – is available in Attachment 1 [Attach. 1].

New learning objectives

While the first version contained 42 learning objectives distributed in 8 chapters, the updated version contains 45 learning objectives in nine chapters, see Table 1 [Tab. 1]. The three new items were assigned to the new chapter entitled „Apps, clinical decision support and artificial intelligence“. One existing item, called „Consumer health informatics“ was updated as „Patient apps“ and transferred to this new chapter.


Chapter number 1 was renamed from „Medical documentation and information processing“ to “Medical information management and communication“.

The old chapter „Data protection and IT security“ was renamed to „Data protection and regulatory requirements“, which now includes the item „Legal foundations“ and „Medical informatics in research“. Moreover, new aspects of IT and data security were added, mentioning the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Critical Infrastructures (KRITIS) and Information Security Management (ISO 27001). The item „Patient security“ was updated to address the new Medical Device Regulation (MDR, EU-V 745/2017) and In-Vitro Diagnostic Regulation (IVDR, EU-V 746/2017).


Digitization poses new chances and challenges for physicians but also for the society as a whole. Six years after the first release of the catalog of learning objectives in Medical Informatics, an update was required and consented. Patient empowerment, patient apps, clinical decision support and artificial intelligence are covered more thoroughly than in the old catalog, also regarding critical aspects. The consented catalog can serve as guidance for teaching medical informatics in the curriculum of medical schools. The working group will continuously discuss for updates of this competency-based catalog, also in the light of the National Competence-Based Learning Objectives for Undergraduate Medical Education (NKLM) and national digitization initiatives from clinical disciplines – e.g. radiology [4], anesthesiology and intensive care [5] and internal medicine [6], [7].


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Dugas M, Röhrig R, Stausberg J; GMDS-Projektgruppe „MI-Lehre in der Medizin“. Welche Kompetenzen in Medizinischer Informatik benötigen Ärztinnen und Ärzte? Vorstellung des Lernzielkatalogs Medizinische Informatik für Studierende der Humanmedizin [What competencies in Medical Informatics are required for physicians? Presentation of a catalog regarding learning objectives for medical students]. GMS Med Inform Biom Epidemiol. 2012;8(1):Doc04. DOI: 10.3205/mibe000128 External link
Medizinischer Fakultätentag. Masterplan Medizinstudium 2020: Fachwissen und Erfahrung der Universitäten in der politischen Planung stärker berücksichtigen. [accessed Jun 2019]. Available from: aktuelle-themen/masterplan-medizinstudium-2020/ External link
Krüger-Brand HE. Digitalisierung: Ärzte stellen Weichen für die Zukunft. Dtsch Arztebl. 2017;114(22-23):A-1094/B-911/C-892.
Forsting M. Künstliche Intelligenz mit der Radiologie als Vorreiter für Super-Diagnostics: Ein Essay. [Artificial Intelligence with Radiology as a Trailblazer for Super-Diagnostics: An Essay]. Fortschr Röntgenstr. 2019;191(01):73-8. DOI: 10.1055/a-0808-7772 External link
Marx G, Dusch M, Czaplik M, Balzer F, Brokmann JC, Deisz R, von Dossow V, Ellger B, Gräsner JT, von der Groeben C, Hadzidiakos D, Heller A, Nau C, Weiß S, Wunder C, Wurmb T, van Aalst G, Beckers R, Rossaint R. Telemedizin für die vier Säulen der Anästhesiologie. Positionspapier der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Anästhesiologie und Intensivmedizin (DGAI) und der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Telemedizin (DG Telemed) [Telemedicine in the four pillars of anaesthesiology. Position paper of The German Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (DGAI) and German Society of Telemedicine (DG Telemed)]. Anästh Intensivmed. 2019;60:191-207. DOI: 10.19224/ai2019.191 External link
Vogelmeier C, Floege J, Gamstätter T. Perspektiven 2025 – ein Positionspapier der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2019;144(03):207-12. DOI: 10.1055/a-0799-5146 External link
Becker S, Budde K, Tillmann FP, Koisar K, Wamprecht L, Müschenich M, Meister S, Roller R. Digitale Nephrologie [Digital Nephrology]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2019;144(07):452-6. DOI: 10.1055/a-0740-8662 External link