Some Mid-Nineties Medical Informatics Course Outlines: Enjoy!

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Last week I wrote about how I became interested in EHR workflow management systems. While looking for some diagrams to illustrate relationships among medicine, business, and technology, I happened to browse some old medical informatics-related material and syllabi for courses that I taught at Duquesne University.

For example, here is a 1997 RealVideo of me talking about streaming video with respect to computer-based learning in an introductory medical informatics class. This video was optimized to run over a 28k modem (2 frames per second!). What a hoot and how far we have come!

1997 RealVideo optimized for 28k modem at 2 fps (painful!).

With respect to the syllabi, there is not much direct relevance to EHR workflow management systems to speak of (”workflow” the word appears nowhere, though there were some interesting student projects on the subject) however, I do think that they are almost quaintly entertaining. The two syllabi that actually have any graphics have a retro pre-Dreamweaver/pre-WordPress look, but they’re also prescient in terms of the future (our present) that they visualize.

Except for the JAVA programming course, the syllabi were first created for the 94-96 school years (but were last taught in 98-99). Warning to propeller heads: these were basic courses for undergraduates with no technical background. Also keep in mind that the first web browser had only been introduced in 1993, and then the first Netscape browser appeared in 1994. (And most of the links are broken due to ten years of link rot.)

Medical Informatics

“This course provides an introduction to medical informatics: its roots in computing and health science, its subdisciplines (such as medical imaging, document management, and decision support), and its interactions with other fields (particularly business and cognitive science). Topics include medical databases, networks, multimedia, artificial intelligence, communication standards, and signal processing. ”

Elements of Health Information Science

“This course provides an introduction to computer programming for individuals who will need to work with health care software developers. Alternating between learning new programming concepts and techniques, and application of those concepts and techniques to health care examples, students will learn to create simple medical software, such as dialogue screens for medical information systems, disease management applications, and automated patient surveys.”

Health Information Science

“This course is an introduction to World Wide Web technologies and their relationship to health care. While emphasis will be on the hands-on skills of molding text and images into coherent Web sites, and their uploading and maintenance, due attention will be given to special problems in health care and the Web, such as the quality of medical images, the importance of security, and the increasing role of the health care consumer in Web-based health information systems.”

World Wide Web Programming

“This course is an introduction to Java technology, hands-on and conceptual. You will write, modify, compile, and execute Java applications, applets, and servlets, while considering their relevance to a wide variety of technological, economic, and (yes) political issues. Since my interests are medical, many of my examples will be too.”

Keeping in mind the neophyte audience and that this period was in some ways the dawn of the Web with respect to healthcare applications of Web technology, the course outlines hold up rather well. The explicit and implicit predictions about future use of information technology in healthcare were spot on. If this blog is as accurate with respect to EHR workflow management and business process management technology over the next fifteen years, I’ll follow up with a “Told You So” post in 2024.

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