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Multidisciplinary Education in Medical Informatics – A course for medical and informatics students
Bernhard Breila, Fleur Fritza, Volker Thiemanna, Martin Dugasa

Department of Medical Informatics and Biomathematics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany

Information technology has a strong impact on public health and medical information systems play a fundamental role inthe everyday life of many health professionals. Physicians spend about 25 % of their daily clinical work on documentation tasks which become more and more supported by information systems [1]. The use of the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is increasing and has the potential to improve the quality of care [2]. Therefore health care professionals and computer specialists need knowledge about themanagement of health care information systems [3]. Already in the year 2000 the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) published recommendations on education in Health and Medical Informatics emphasizing on the management of information systems [4]. In the current curriculum for medical students in Münster there is only one compulsory subject in the domain of medical informaticsincluding the main topics of hospital information systems, electronic patient records, information acquisition as

well as classification and coding systems. At least in Germany, education concerning the management of information systems is not mandatory for medical students. On the other hand, due to the lifecycle of medical IT systems healthcare professionals are confronted with specification andimplementation of information systems. Haux et al. described programs for medical informatics students as well as for health information management students with a focus on system analysis and project management [3]. This training might be useful for healthcare professionals too. For example to conduct realistic case studies regarding the design and implementation of information systems theexpertise both from medicine and computer science is beneficial. Healthcare professionals, in particular physicians, need skills and knowledge regarding information systems, not only as end-users, but also regarding requirement specification and evaluation. On the other hand, computer scientists need to understand processes in hospitals, medical documentation and physicians’ workflows in order to designand implement adequate systems. Former course evaluations by medical students showed that the teaching in subjects like medical informatics can be improved through practical oriented inputs [5, 6]. It also became evident that the need for health informatics training is increasing [7]. Therefore, our main objective was to design a multidisciplinary course with practical training for medical andinformatics students. This course should be integrated in the current curriculum of both medicine and informatics.

Materials and Methods
The design of the new course concept is mainly influenced by three factors: At first it is based on the standard evaluation of an existing course in informatics for medical students. We reviewed the evaluation of this course from winter term 2007/2008 to summerterm 2009. Secondly we used experiences from a pilot course on management of medical information systems which was introduced in the last year. Thirdly we analyzed literature concerning medical informatics education with a focus on multidisciplinary courses.

Evaluation of the current course in medical informatics In the respective terms more than 400 medical students attended thecourse and evaluated education in medical informatics on a scale from 0 (very good) to 100 (very bad). Table 1 shows the results. The average score is between 38.9 and 56.3 while the median ranges from 32.0 to 53.5. Table 1 – Evaluation of the course in medical informatics Term 2007/2008 2008 2008/2009 2009 n 129 108 107 113 Avg 39.5 56.3 41.8 38.9 Mdn 34.0 53.5 38.0 32.0 Std Dev 25.4 25.2 26.5 26.1...
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