Thoughts on the "Fundamental Theorem of Medical Informatics"

by Hans on 2005/03/22

I’ve been doing some reading on what Charles Friedman calls “The fundamental theorem of medical informatics”. Basically, it goes as follows:

Corollary #1 (Person): The intelligent user’s personal knowledge and beliefs are at least as important as anything the technology does.

Corollary #2 (Technology): The technology must be able to tell the user something he/she does not already know.

Corollary #3 (Interaction): Something unpredictable happens when the two (i.e., people, technology) come together.

Fundamental Theorem of Medical Informatics: “Creating an environment of “supported practice” such that an intelligent person (e.g., practitioner) working in combination with information resources/technology is “better” than the person without such support.”

I think that on the whole, I support and agree with this “fundamental theorem”. But, I wonder if there is an implied understanding that this theorem is really only for health care practitioners and institutions in which they operate. I suppose that the term medical informatics pretty much describes the context.

I wonder: is there an underlying foundational “theorem” that drives ehealth? If so, is it different from Friedman’s fundamental theorem?

You can view a copy of Friedman’s presentation here.

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