Towards an epistemological understanding of healthcare informatics: Academic backgrounds of the faculty

Thomas James Virgona


Healthcare informatics is a relatively new field to academia and is multi-disciplinary by nature.  Although the field of health informatics encompasses several disciplines and subject areas that are familiar and long standing, the field itself is still in a formative state that allows many disciplines to contribute to the field through teaching and curriculum development in a way that may not be possible in more established educational programs. The purpose of this pilot study was to start to define the cross-disciplinary nature of a Healthcare Informatics faculty. Researchers in the field agree that the discipline includes a full spectrum of courses, but the diversity of faculty backgrounds remains vague.   In this pilot study, one trend was apparent in the academic backgrounds of the Healthcare Informatics faculty; Computer Science was the most common academic background of the faculty (10 PhD’s, 8 Graduate and 6 Undergraduate Degrees).  Interestingly, four faculty members earned a PhD in Health Informatics and no faculty member had earned a graduate/undergraduate degree in Healthcare informatics.  The faculty members of the ten universities investigated in this pilot study indicated 45 unique Doctoral disciplines.   By any measure, that would be considered inter-disciplinary.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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