The Intellectual Structure of Health and Medical Informatics

The Intellectual Structure of Health and Medical Informatics

Wullianallur Raghupathi (Fordham University, USA) and Sridhar Nerur (University of Texas at Arlington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1755-1.ch001
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This paper presents the results of an author co-citation analysis of the health and medical informatics discipline. It updates a smaller study that focused on health information systems. Drawing on such sub-fields as bio informatics, clinical decision support systems, computational genomics, e-health, health informatics, and others, this body of knowledge defines the core internal structure of the discipline and delineates its sub-fields. An author co-citation analysis was performed for a nine-year period using the members of editorial boards of several medical informatics-related journals as an initial author sample (N = 272). Several multivariate analyses, including cluster analysis, factor analysis and multidimensional scaling, were performed. The authors results confirm that several established sub-fields still stand but a number of new sub-fields are emerging. Future research can build on this work and examine other journals and additional authors to gain insights into the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the health and medical informatics discipline.
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In this article we present a contemporary view of the intellectual structure of the health & medical informatics discipline by analyzing co-authored papers for the nine-year period, 1998 to 2006. The study described here builds on a prior smaller study that looked at health information systems and was published in Methods of Information in Medicine (Raghupathi & Nerur, 2008). Editorial board members of various health & medical informatics-related journals shown in Table 1 served as proxies for leading researchers/authors. We gathered co-citation data from the Web of Science’s Science Citation and Social Science Citation Indexes. The results of our research confirm the historically dominant fields, emerging topics, leading researchers, as well as the relationships among researchers and topics over a nine-year period. The study, therefore, is an attempt to map the overall structure of the health & medical informatics discipline. Our primary objective is to develop a benchmark that may be used to develop taxonomies and frameworks of future research topics, investigate changes in the discipline as a whole, and document the emergence of new research areas and the decline of established areas of research. This study also updates the findings of prior studies that used different methodologies including co-citation analysis to elucidate the intellectual structure of health & medical informatics (Andrews, 2002; Morris & McCain, 1998).

Table 1.
List of journals
IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine (ITITBM)
International Journal of Electronic Healthcare (IJEH)
International Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics (IJHISI)
International Journal of Medical Informatics (IJMI)
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA)
Journal of Biomedical Informatics (JBI)
Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR)
Medical Informatics & The Internet in Medicine (MIIM)

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. First, we discuss the research objectives and methodology of this study, focusing on the bibliometric technique of author co-citation analysis (ACA). Subsequently, we analyze and discuss the results of various statistical methods employed and weigh in on the scope and limitations of this study. Finally, we offer conclusions and directions for future research.

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