ArticlePDF Available

Achievements after Six Years of The International Partnership for Health Informatics Education



To inform the medical and health informatics community on the rational, goals, and the achievements of the International Partnership for Health Informatics Education – IPHIE, (IΦE), that was established at six universities in 1999: The University of Amsterdam, the Universities of Heidelberg and Heilbronn, the University of Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology at Innsbruck, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Utah. We elaborate on the overall goals of IΦE and describe the current state of affairs: the activities undertaken and faculty and student experience related to these activities. In addition we outline the lessons we have learned over these past six years and our plans for the future. IΦE seeks to maintain, improve and promote medical and health informatics education through international collaboration of graduate and baccalaureate programs in medical and health informatics. IΦE members first started to collaborate by supporting and encouraging the exchange of talented students and faculty and by establishing joint master classes for honors students. Following the success of these activities, new initiatives were undertaken such as the organization of student workshops at Medical Informatics conferences and a joint course on strategic information management in hospitals in Europe. International partnerships such as IΦE take time to establish, and, if they are to be successful, maintaining leadership continuity is critically important. We are convinced that IΦE promotes professionalism of future medical informatics specialists. There will be a continuing growth of globalization in higher education. It will therefore become increasingly important to offer educational programs with international components.
The International Partnership
forHealth Informatics Education
Lessons Learned fromSix YearsofExperience
M. W. M. Jaspers
4, 5
Dept.ofMedical Informatics, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dept.ofMedical Informatics, School of Medicine, UniversityofUtah,Salt Lake City,USA
Dept.ofLaboratory Medicineand Pathology,Division of Health Computer Sciences, MedicalSchool,
UniversityofMinnesota, Minneapolis, USA
Institute for Health Information Systems, University for Health Sciences, MedicalInformatics and
Technology (UMIT), Innsbruck, Austria,
newaddress:Institute for Medical Informatics, Technical
UniversityofBraunschweig, Germany
Dept.ofMedical Informatics, UniversityofApplied Sciences, Heilbronn,Germany
Dept.ofMedical Informatics, Institute for Medical Biometry andInformatics,University of Heidel-
berg, Germany
Objectives: To inform the medicaland healthin-
formatics communityonthe rational, goals, and
the achievements of the International Partnership
forHealthInformatics Education –IPHIE, (IΦ E),
that was established at six universities in 1999.
Methods: We elaborate on theoverall goalsofIΦ E
anddescribe thecurrent stateofaffairs: the activities
undertaken andfaculty andstudent experience related
to theseactivities. In addition we outlinethe lessons
we have learned overthesepast six years and
our plansfor the future.
Results: I Φ Emembers first started to collaborate by
supporting andencouragingthe exchange of talented
students andfaculty andbyestablishingjointmaster
classes forhonors students.Followingthe success of
theseactivities, new initiativeswereundertakensuch as
the organization of student workshops at medical in-
formatics conferences andajointcourse on strategic
information management in hospitals in Europe.
Conclusions: International partnerships such as I Φ E
taketime to establish,and,ifthey are to be successful,
maintainingleadership continuity is criticallyimpor-
tant. We are convincedthatIΦ Epromotes profes-
sionalism of future medical informatics specialists.
There will be acontinuing growth of globalization in
higher education.Itwill therefore becomeincreasingly
importanttooffer educational programs with inter-
national components.
educational exchange
Methods Inf Med 2005;44: 25–31
In the next decades, health carewill be sig-
nificantlyinfluenced by our aging society
andput aheavier burdenondelivering
quality andefficient services. To provide
better health care, information andcom-
municationstechnologies (ICT)will in-
creasinglybeneeded.There is no doubt that
parallel to this need for ICT,there will be an
increasing demand for well-educated medi-
cal andhealth informaticsspecialists.Toen-
hancethe education of these future medical
informaticsspecialists,weshould offer
themopportunities to share in the edu-
cational andresearch expertiseand know-
howofmultipleuniversities andhealth care
institutions.Today, international experience
is widelyregardedasanessentialand inte-
gral part of astudent’sand faculty’straining.
Internationally educated medical in-
formaticsspecialists maynot onlyshare
their knowledge at international confer-
ences, butmanyare willing to applytheir
expertiseininternationalresearch projects,
such as the Fifth andSixth Framework Pro-
gram of the European Commission [1]. As a
byproduct, internationallytrainedmedical
informaticsfaculty andstudents mayhelpto
acceleratethe dissemination of acquired
knowledge andskills in the fieldand the
promotion of medical informaticsresearch
results on amore global level.
In addition, internationalexperience in
the fieldwill enhancethe marketability and
employabilityoffuturemedical informatics
specialists.Preparing medical informatics
students for theseroles,however,requires
proactiveinitiatives. In this paper, we re-
portonone such initiative:anInternational
Partnership for Health InformaticsEdu-
cation –IPHIE(I Φ E) that wasestablishedin
1999 [2, 3]. We describe the aims of this
partnership, the universities involved,the
activitiesundertaken andour experiences,
the lessons we have learnedand our projec-
tionsfor the future.
An International Partnership
for Health Informatics
In 1999,agroup of five universities, includ-
ing the University of Amsterdam [4-6], the
Universities of Heidelberg andHeilbronn
[7-11], the University of Minnesota [12],
andthe University of Utah [13-15], agreed
thatinternationalized studies should consti-
tute an integral part of their educational pro-
grams.To stimulate this international orien-
tation andeducation,theyestablishedIFE
[2, 3]. In 2002,the University for Health
Sciences, Medical Informatics andTechnol-
ogy(UMIT [16, 17]) also joined the partner-
©2005 Schattauer GmbH
MethodsInf Med1/2005
Received:August 24, 2004; accepted:November24, 2004
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
ship. The European universities offermedi-
cal informaticsprogramsatthe B. Sc., M.
Sc. andPh. D. levels [4-11, 16,17]. TheUS
universities offerthe M. Sc. and Ph. D. de-
grees [12-15]. Table1givesanoverviewof
the duration,the degrees andspecificchar-
acteristicsofeach of theseuniversities.
Theoverall aimofthis co-operation was
to form anetwork for training andeducating
medical informaticsstudents on an inter-
nationallevel to preparethemfor leading
positions in medical information andcom-
munication technology [2, 3].
These students arethe next generation
expertswho will be responsible for the ap-
propriateapplication of ICTtooptimize
complexinformation processing in health
care. Thesharing anddissemination of
their knowledgeand practical experiences
with other students andfaculty should help
them to become moreproficient in their
I Φ Eaims to achieve its mission by:1)
supporting andencouraging the exchange
of students andfaculty between universities,
2) organizing yearly jointmaster classes,
3) offering ajoint European course on stra-
tegic information management, 4) organiz-
ing student workshops at international con-
ferences, and5)developing andsharing
By encouraging our students to become
moreinternationallyoriented, we hopedto
prepare them for internationalpositions
in the medical informaticsfield andto
enhancetheir marketability andemploya-
Experiences within I Φ E
Student and Faculty Exchange
I Φ Eencouragesstudentand faculty ex-
changesamongpartnerschools. With the
student exchange program,weaim to tailor
students’master thesis work to their individ-
ualinterestsand to offeroptimal challenges
to deepen their knowledgeand skills in a
specific medical informaticssubject. Stu-
dents may, for example, be interested in a
research topic whichisnot amaintheme in
the research program of their home univer-
sity butisinthe research domain of another
I Φ Epartneruniversity.The student ex-
change program offers thesestudents the
option to carry out (part of) their master the-
sisproject at the university thatiswell-
knownfor itsexpertiseinaspecific research
area. Forexample, in the past,the University
of Minnesota wasfar ahead of the Univer-
sity of Amsterdam in its research in the area
of telemedicine. Consequently, Amsterdam
studentsinterested in telemedicine fully
subscribedtotelemedicine projectsatthe
University of Minnesota.Both universities
have coveredpublichealth informaticsas
research themes. Such exchangeshaveled
students to carry out part of their research at
their home site andpartoftheir research at a
hostuniversity.Thus thesestudents areof-
feredthe opportunity to profit from both
worlds andbring home newideas thatmay
addtotheir knowledge andfinalresearch
Theobjective of the faculty exchange
program is to deepen students’ knowledge
of specific medical informaticssubjects by
having I Φ Efaculty members thatare expert
I Φ Epartner andprograms:Degrees
University of Amsterdam:
Medical Information Sciences
B. Sc.
M. Sc.
Ph. D.
UniversitiesHeidelberg and
Medical Informatics
Health Information Management
B. Sc.
M. Sc.
Ph. D.
M. Sc.
B. Sc.
M. Sc.
Ph. D.
University of Minnesota:
Health Informatics
M. Sc.
Ph. D.
University of Utah:
Medical Informatics
M. Sc.
Ph. D.
approx. 4years
4.5 years
approx3–4 years
15 months
approx. 3–4 years
4+ years
4+ years
Program characteristics:
Founded: 1987
Intake:highschool graduates
Orientation: Health InformationSciences/Informatics
Founded: 1987
Intake:Baccalaureate graduatesinbiomedical
informatics, physicians, informaticians
Specializations:Medical Decision Support,
Health Care Management, Health InformationSystems
Founded: 1981
Founded: 1972
Intake:highschool graduates
Orientation: Medical informatics- total spectrum
Specializations: Management in Health Care, Health In-
formationSystems,Biomedical Signaland ImagePro-
cessing, MedicalDecision Support, Medical Biometry
Founded: 1984
Founded: 2000
Intake: physicians
Founded: 2001
Intake: high school graduates
Orientation: Biomedical/ Health Informatics
Founded: 2001
Intake:Baccalaureate graduatesinbiomedical
informatics, physicians, informaticians
Specializations:Bioinformatics, Health Information
Management,Medical Informatics
Founded: 2001
Founded: 1973
Intake: Baccalaureate graduates
Specializations:HealthInformatics Research Applications,
Founded: 1973
Intake:Baccalaureate graduates, physicians, nurses
Medical Imaging
Founded: 1964
Table 1 Overview of the characteristicsofeach of the programsofeach of the partner universities withinIΦ E
MethodsInf Med1/2005
Jaspers et al.
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
in thesesubjects teach at another university
program.For example, faculty members of
the University of Heidelbergand UMIT
have been teaching about hospital in-
formation systemsatthe Amsterdampro-
gram,faculty members of Amsterdam have
been teaching about the formalization and
implementation of clinical guidelines at the
Heidelbergprogram andonthe computer-
ized patientrecord at the UMIT program.
Faculty receive the status of visiting fac-
ultyatthe hosting school, andstudents have
tuitionfees waived.For visiting student re-
search projects, afaculty memberofthe
hosting institution servesasathesisre-
search advisor.Sinceits inception in March
1999, I Φ Ehad 17 student and29faculty ex-
changesbetween the partners (seeTables2
Aftersix yearsofthe IFEexchange pro-
gram it is nowclearly understood by stu-
dents at each of the Universities. As acon-
sequence the process of application andin-
ternationalexchange hasbecome easier.
Typically, astudentmustfirstcontactafac-
ultymemberathis/herinstitution. Thestu-
dent applicant’sacceptanceinto the pro-
gram is based on an informalassessment of
personality andability, andalsoonthe
topics andscope of the student’sproject.
Local faculty members thenhelpfacilitate
student contactand project definition with
the partnerinstitution. Forstudents coming
to the UnitedStates(US), the US visa appli-
cation process is oftenalengthyand stress-
ful experience; on the other hand,most
European students (depending on their
nationality) whoare going to aEuropean
Union school can easily transferwhentheir
project definition is sufficientlyadvanced.
Foreign students whoare studying in the
United States have haddifficulty in receiv-
ing permission to attend aEuropean partner
school in the I Φ Eprogram.University ad-
ministrationscan assist in the paperworkto
getadmission to their respective country.
Thepersonalpartofthe exchange process
mustaddress nationality,academic andpro-
fessionalachievements,security andfinan-
cial risks. Typicallythe candidatesmust
have sufficient funding fromatrusted
sourceand proof of health insurance to
come to aUSinstitution. Persons tempo-
rarilyataUSuniversity mayhaveaccess to
the university health plans forstudents,but
must payfor the health insurance.
As alreadydiscussed,graduating from
one’s home university maybecombined
with research at apartnerinstitution in avar-
iety of ways,from shortstays to full-length
graduation projectsinthe hostinstitution.
Theimportance of guidancebyacademic
faculty at home andhostsiteshas become
More European students have come to
the UnitedStatesthanEuropeansgoing to
the United States. Theimbalanceofmove-
ments between the Americanand European
institutions is likelydue to perceivedlan-
guage problems by theAmericanstudents in
Europe.However,funding issuesand du-
ration of student stayshavealsobeen im-
portantfactors. Forexample, aEuropean
master thesisispartofagraduate curricu-
lum andmay last onlyone year,whileinthe
United States aM.Sc. degree with thesis
preparation typically takestwo yearsand re-
search for the Ph.D.dissertation typically
takesthreetofiveyears. Amajor sourceof
funding for the Americanmedical in-
formaticsstudents at the University of Min-
nesota andUniversity of Utah is from
National Library of Medicine (NLM) train-
ing grants.These NLMtraining grants have
funding arrangements for US studentscom-
pleting their training at aUSuniversity.
However, there is currentlynoequivalent
funding sourcefor foreign students. Forstu-
dents movinginto or out of Heidelberg/
Heilbronnthere is adedicated yetlimited
public(state) funding resource–the Baden-
rttemberg-Stipendium (Baden-Würt-
temberg scholarship).
Europe AMS
AMS =Amsterdam, H/H =Heidelberg/Heilbronn, UMIT=Innsbruck,
MN =Minneapolis, SLC=Salt LakeCity
2000 (1)
2003 (1)
1999 (1)
2004 (1)
2002 (1)
2003 (1)
2000 (2)
2001 (1)
2000 (1)
2003 (1)
2002 (2)
2003 (4)
Europe AMS
AMS =Amsterdam, H/H =Heidelberg/Heilbronn, UMIT=Innsbruck,
MN =Minneapolis, SLC=Salt LakeCity,*=sabbaticalsofseveral months.
2001 (3)
2002 (2)
2004 (1)
2004 (1)
2004 (2)
2001 (3)
2002 (2)
2003 (2)
2004 (1)
2002 (2)
2003 (1)
2004 (1)
2004 (1)*
2002 (2)
2003 (3)
2004 (1)
2002 (1)*
Table 2
Student movements be-
tween I Φ Epartners,
Table 3
Faculty exchange between
I Φ Epartners, 1999-2004
MethodsInf Med1/2005
International Partnership forHealthInformatics Education
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
Personalcontactisamajor factor in
stimulating student exchange:Exchanged
visitsofstudentgroups andfaculty ex-
changesamongpartnerschools in the past
have been the mostimportantfactor for
Theideaof“Master Classes” wasborrowed
from the fieldofthe performing arts,where
expertscoached novicestoachieve mastery
in their area of expertise. I Φ Eoffersmaster
classes in health informaticstoprovide an
integrativeforum for honors students [18].
These master classes includecomparative
international views of health caresystems,
opportunities for faculty/studentinteraction
andpromotion of professionalism.Starting
in 1999,the week longmaster classes have
been offeredeach summertoselected hon-
ors students from each of the participating
medical/health informaticsprograms. The
master classes have nowbeen hosted once
by each of the I Φ Esitesfor up to four hon-
ors students andtwo faculty members from
each of the institutions. Attendancehas
rangedfrom 25 to 30 participants each year.
In addition to the faculty members andstu-
dents fromeach program,invitedexperts
whofocus on topics importanttothe hostin-
stitutionhavealsoparticipated. Honorsstu-
dents fromthe partnerprogramsapplytheir
professionalskills in smallgroups where
theydiscuss, analyze, andcritique selected
topicsfrom their ownresearch or from the
InternationalMedical Informatics Associ-
ation’s (IMIA)AnnualYearbook of Medical
Informatics.Frequentlythe master class is
arrangedinconjunction with an inter-
nationalconferencesuchasMEDINFO or
MIEthatprovidesfurther opportunities for
students andfaculty to participate in panels
andworkshops.Ateach of the master
classes there have also been opportunities
for travel, sightseeing andvisiting local
health carefacilities. Asite visit to the uni-
versity hospitalorganizing the master
classes to showcase the hospitalinformation
strategy is always part of the master class
program.Overall, systematic evaluations of
the master classes have shown, among other
things,thatstudents highlyappreciated the
master class lectures, felt thattheyimproved
their professionalknowledge andskills by
the international exchangesduring these
classes,and hadmuchbetterinsight into
what is going on in the medical informatics
fieldworldwide as aresult of the master
classes [18]. The high levelofinteraction
among students andfaculty fromdifferent
institutions andcountries hasprovidedan
opportunity for important student andfac-
ultyinterchange andhas fosteredinter-
nationalcollaborations andbetterunder-
standing of the challenges of sharing in-
formatics progress internationally.
JointInternational Course
of the EuropeanPartners
Considering the globalproblems andsol-
utions that nationalhealth caresystems are
increasinglyforced to deal with [19, 20], in-
cluding medical informaticsproblems and
solutions,itwas decidedthatthe European
students should be trainedtomeet the de-
health careenvironment. Forthis reason,
since2001, ajoint internationalcourse on
strategic information management in hos-
pitalshas been offeredfor medical in-
formaticsstudents fromthe University of
Amsterdam, as well as medical informatics
andhealth information management stu-
dents from the Universities of Heidelberg/
Heilbronn. Starting in 2002,medical in-
formaticsstudents fromthe M. Sc. program
of UMIT have joined in the partnership and
international course.
Thecourse aims to answer the following
Whyissystematicinformation process-
ing in hospitals important?
Howare hospitalinformation systems
designedand why?
What areattributesofgood hospital in-
formation systems?
Howcan we strategically manage hospi-
talinformation systems?
Theobjective is to provide ourstudents with
the knowledgeand skills necessarytobegin
professional, practical work aftergradu-
ation andtobeabletodoresearch in the
Theannualcourse is noworganized into
three blocks.Block1,the firstpartofthe
course,istaught separatelybyteachersof
the respective programseitherinDutch or in
German,using the samee-learning platform
andcourseware [21-23]. This blockalsoin-
cludessite visits in the respective university
medical centers (i.e. Amsterdam, Heidel-
berg,and Innsbruck) andapresentation of
the architecturesand infrastructuresoftheir
hospital information systems. Finally, stu-
dents areintroduced to their exercises. The
students areassignedtogroups,typically
consisting of students from allthreecoun-
tries.InBlock2students starttowork on
their assignedprojects. In Block3students
andfaculty meet for approximatelythree
days at one institution (in2001 theymet at
the University of Heidelberg, in 2002 at the
University of Amsterdam, in 2003 at UMIT
in Innsbruckand in 2004 at the University of
Heidelbergagain).During thisblockthe
finalpartofthe course is jointlytaught to all
students in English.Students do group work
to jointlyfinalizetheir assignedexercises
andprepare their presentations. Finallythey
present the results of their exercises to the
faculty members andstudents participating
in the course [22, 23].
Thus far, allstudentevaluationsofthese
courses have been positive. Besides the
benefitofworking jointlywith students
from other countries,the combination of
presenting knowledgeabout hospital in-
formation systems, and their clinical appli-
cation in different university medical
centers (with differinghealth caresystems),
hasfound to be very helpful. Thestrategy
wasfound to be morehelpful than aregular
lectureseriesattheir home university [23].
Student Workshops
It wasfeltthatsharing anddisseminating re-
search results andpractical experiences
with an international audienceofmedical
informaticsspecialists would help students
become greater expertsinthe field. To this
end, four student workshops at international
medical informaticsconferences have been
held: the first, in 2000,aspartofMIE in
Hanover, the second, in 2001,aspartof
MEDINFO in London, the thirdatthe 2003
MethodsInf Med1/2005
Jaspers et al.
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
MIEconferenceinSaint Malo, andthe
fourth in 2004 as part of MEDINFO in San
Francisco.Atotalof24graduate students in
the university programsthatformIΦ Epre-
sented their thesiswork to an international
audienceatone of theseconferences. Typi-
cally,students reported theyhavediscov-
ered newideas as theypresented their thesis
work. Forinstance, as aresult of the sugges-
tionsput forwardbythe audience, students
have found additional literaturerelated to
their research topic andhaverefinedtheir
research methodology.Asabyproductof
these workshops,students have also made
newcontacts in their research field.
In addition, the internationalmedical in-
formaticsaudiencehas been informedabout
research issues addressed by newcomers in
the field. Overall, these workshops have
promoted the discussion andexchange of
ideasbetween these newcomers as well as
the establishedinternationalmedical in-
Lessons Learned
Amajor objective of I Φ Eistoformanet-
work for training andeducating students on
an international leveland to have thembe-
come moreproficient in the fieldbysharing
in the knowledge andpractical experience
of faculty members andstudents of the other
partneruniversities. Of each of the activities
undertaken the evaluation results show,
overall, thatwesucceeded in ourgoal. The
international aspectsofeach of the I Φ Eac-
tivitiesare highlyvaluedbyboth students
andfaculty members.Students report that
theyreally improved their knowledgeand
professionalskills as aresult of the I Φ Epro-
gram [18, 23].
The student exchange program has
increased our students’ opportunities to
tailor their education to their individual
needs, while at the sametime theybecome
acquainted with international developments
in medical informaticsresearch.With
the faculty exchange program,wehave
enhanced medical andhealth informatics
education by makingfaculty members
expertiseavailabletostudents of other I Φ E
We have learnedthatregular joint
coursesare possibleand can be beneficial.
Our experience with the international
course on strategic information manage-
ment in hospitals hasshown that working
jointlyonexerciseswith students from other
countries is very helpful in identifying the
pros andcons of the various architectures
andinfrastructures of the hospital in-
formation systemsatacademic hospitals in
different countries.This comparative analy-
sisofthe hospital information management
strategy of these three European hospitals
contributed to our students’ in-depth under-
standing of the strategic information man-
agementinthese hospitalsand gave them
newinsightsinto ways of addressing com-
mon concerns in thisrespect.The inter-
nationalcourse is nowfullyintegrated into
the three medical informaticsuniversity
programsofthe participating European I Φ E
sitesand credited. One problemwhich still
remains is thateach university hasits ownor
nationalregulations for student credits and
examinations. As aresult, forexample, we
arenot planning to extend this course to stu-
dents at the Americanschools, because of
problems of funding andofstudentcredit
exchange.Inthe future,wemay openthe in-
ternationalcourse to students in other Euro-
pean medical informaticsprograms. In fu-
ture,the course maydevelop in aEuropean
postM.Sc. course for other professionals in
the health carefield,suchashealth carepro-
fessionals whoare heading foramanage-
ment position or forhospital managers.
Thejoint master classes for honors stu-
dents from allour institutions have been
outstanding. Thetwinaims of these classes
are: 1) to enhancethe participants’knowl-
edge by offering additional ‘master’lectures
thatcover in-depth medical informatics
topics, and 2) to have international students
learn from each other by discussing, analyz-
ing andcritiquing topicsfrom their own
research and from medical informatics
articles. Thesecond aimhas been easily
reached.Students see great personalbenefit
in these international exchangesand report
improvements in their professionalknowl-
edge as aresult of these exchanges. Thefirst
aimhas been moredifficult to achieve.Here
we have noticed that, althoughour curricula
hadmanysimilarities, there were also con-
siderabledifferences. What students of one
program knewwas often newtostudents of
another program.The AmsterdamUniver-
sity program’sfocus is lessonmathematics
than the other programs. As aconsequence,
the Amsterdam studentsneeded some addi-
tionallecturesinmathematics to be able to
understand an advanced master class on
imageprocessing. We need to reassessthe
conceptuallevel of medical informaticsin
our curricula in lightofthe contents of the
advanced lecturesoffered in the master
classes. Furthermore,master class lectures
have concentratedmainlyonexpertisere-
latedtothe research programsofthe hosting
institution; further opportunities mustbe
found for content addressing the differences
in health caresystems acrossnations.
We can recommend setting up inter-
nationalpartnershipsofeducational pro-
gramsinthe fieldofmedical andhealth in-
formatics, such as IFE. Our sixyearsofex-
perience have shownusthatinternational
collaboration takestime to establishand
leadership continuityiscritically important.
Funding of our students andfaculty fortheir
exchange is also an ongoing challenge.
Sincethe tragedyofSeptember11, 2001,
we arenow faced with visaproblems for
some of ourstudents.Overcoming these
challenges is critical for international col-
laborationsinhigher education andinre-
search in general.
Future Projections
In accordancewith the IMIA goals([24,
25], see also [26-28]) the members of our
partnership areconvincedthatthere will be
acontinuing increase of globalization in
higher education,inspiteoflanguage bar-
riers anddifferingnational cultures and
laws. It will become increasinglyimportant
to have educational programswith global
offerings [24]. Schools forming such part-
nerships will nowlikelyhaveanadvantage
over others,asinstitutions compete in aglo-
baleducational market.
We aimtoenhancemedical andhealth
informaticseducation andinnovation,first
in ourown medical informaticsuniversity
programs, butinfutureonamoreinter-
MethodsInf Med1/2005
International Partnership forHealthInformatics Education
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
nationalscale. At the moment, ourinter-
nationalpartnership,IΦ E, consists of
schools in Europe andNorthAmerica. In fu-
ture,wewill consider partnership of schools
from other continents. In thisway,wehope
to fully exploitthe potential of international
education.Wewill make maximumuse of
the advantagesofmodern information tech-
nology,inparticularofe-learning plat-
forms, butwill notabandon asubstantial
amount of classroom education andclose,
personalstudent-faculty mentoringrela-
courses, offeredbyone of our participating
universities, moreavailabletoall of ourstu-
As aconsequencewehavehad to con-
sidertuition and“transferofcredit” be-
tween institutions.Inaddition, the chal-
lenges of integrating faculty members
acrossthe sixinstitutions as ‘affiliatedfac-
ulty’ have become an increasinglyrelevant
In spite of these difficulties, the required
changesinour educational strategieswill be
kept in perspectivesowedonot lose sight of
our intention to provide ahigh quality “in-
ternational” education.Education at the
university levelishardlypossiblewithout an
integrated research environment. Strong
links to integrated clinical andbasicre-
search facilitiesare of equalimportance to
ourfaculty andstudents.
In clinical health care, efficientinformation
management is vitally importanttoassure
high qualityand cost effectiveclinical pa-
tient care. In this context, the need for medi-
cal informaticsspecialists to supporteffec-
tive information processing in health care,
through useofICT,has become clear.Since
medical informaticsisarelativelynew dis-
cipline,weare convinced thatspecialists
should be able to share and profit from each
others’knowledge andexperience on an in-
ternational scale. Ourinternationalex-
change program I Φ Ehas been able to
supplement the students’ medical in-
formaticseducation by providing exposure
to: 1) research programsand the specific
faculty expertisefrom otheruniversities,
2) knowledge of other internationalstu-
dents’research work andtheir accomplish-
ments and3)otherinternationalhealth care
systems, and health careorganizations’ in-
formation andcommunication architectures
We believethatIΦ Epromotesprofes-
sionalism of future medical informatics
specialists by exchange of knowledge and
educational experience in the medical in-
formaticsfield acrossboth nationaland in-
ternationalborders. Otheruniversities have
also co-operatedinjoint projectstopromote
multidisciplinary andinternationalap-
proaches in their educational programs
[29-32]. In particular, the IT-EDUCTRA
projectofthe TelematicsApplication Pro-
gram produced teaching materials used by
both educational institutions andhealth pro-
fessionals to remedy the knowledge gaps of
theseprofessionals with respect to health in-
formatics[31]. Health caremanagement
curricula have benefitedfrom international
collaboration by having advanced in-
formation technologies introduced into
their programs [32]. Asuccessful example
of internationalcollaboration in health in-
formaticsisthe European M. Sc. postgradu-
atediploma in health informaticsatthe Uni-
versity of Surrey,which is offeredbyfaculty
of European universities [33]. The Euro-
pean Federation for Medical Informatics of
the IMIA hasencouragedhigh standardsin
education by advancing internationalco-
operation anddissemination of knowledge
through its working groups [34]. In 2000,
one of thesegroups,the Working Groupon
Education,succeeded in formulating rec-
ommendations for accreditation of medical
informaticsprograms[24]. Thenewest re-
gional organization of the IMIA,the Asia
PacificAssociation forMedical Infor-
matics, aims to advancehealth informatics
in theAsiaPacificregion [35].Amajor goal
of allthese initiativesistoacceleratethe de-
velopment of educational programsin
medical informaticsand to educateabroad
range of professionals, including school
graduates,computer engineers, health care
professionals (clinicians), andmedical in-
formaticsspecialists.Insome of the inter-
nationalprogramsmentioned,course ma-
terials were preparedoroffered by faculty of
various universities in ordertofullyexploit
partners’ expertise.
Forthe most part,inthese programs, stu-
dents acquiretheir fundamentalmedical in-
formaticsknowledge at one educational in-
stitution. Our I Φ Einternationalpartnership
hopestocontinue to stimulate students to
become moreinternationallyorientedby
having them prepare their thesis abroad, by
attending ourinternationalmaster classes,
by having the European students attend the
course on strategic information manage-
ment in hospitals andbyhaving thempres-
ent their research master thesiswork to an
international audience. In addition, faculty
exchange withinIΦ Ewill deepen students’
knowledge of medical informaticstopics,
advancetheir methodologicalskills and
teach themtoappraise newresearch areas.
In the future,IΦ Emay offerthese and
other opportunities for additional inter-
actionsamongstudents,faculty andinstitu-
tions to contribute to enhancing profes-
sionalism in the medical informaticsfield.
We have discovered thatmanyexciting ex-
periences occurwhenpeople in the same
discipline from different countries can
meet,interact andshare research knowl-
We gratefully acknowledge the funding of partofthe
Eprogram by the EuropeanUnion (SOCRATES
Intensive Programs) and by Land Baden-Württem-
impossible to thank all persons whocontributed to or
participated in one of the activities of I
we gratefully acknowledge the contributions of all the
students, faculty, and administrators of our partner-
ship since it beganin1999.
1. Health and telemedicine projects co-funded by
the EuropeanCommission.
ht_projects/. Last access: October 04.
2. Jaspers MWM, GardnerRM, Gatewood LC, et al.
I Φ E: An international partnership in health in-
formatics education. In Hasman A, Blobel B, Du-
deck J. et al. (eds.). Medical Infobahn for Europe.
Amsterdam:IOS Press; 2000, 549-53.
3. International Partnership for Health Informatics
Education. Last access: Oc-
tober 04.
4. UniversityofAmsterdam. http://www.kikpage.
org. Last access: October 04.
5. Jaspers MWM, LimburgM,Ravesloot JJ.Medi-
cal informatics in Amsterdam:research and edu-
MethodsInf Med1/2005
Jaspers et al.
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
Correspondence to:
Ms.Monique W. M. Jaspers, PhD
AMC, Department of Medical Informatics, J2–259
P.O. Box22700
1000 DE Amsterdam
The Netherlands
cation. In: Haux R, Kulikowski C(eds.). IMIA
Ye arbookofMedical Informatics 2001. Stuttgart:
Schattauer;2001, pp. 117-24.
6. Jaspers MWM, Fockens P, Ravesloot JH, Limburg
M, Abu-Hanna A. Fifteen years medical in-
formation sciences: the Amsterdam curriculum.
Int JMed Inf 2004; 73: 465-77.
7. UniversityofHeidelberg/Heilbronn. http://www. access: October
8. LevenFJ, Haux R. Twenty five years of medical
informatics education at Heidelberg/Heilbronn:
discussion of aspecializedcurriculum for medical
informatics. Int JMed Inf 1998; 50: 31-42.
9. LevenFJ, Knaup P, Schmidt D, Wetter T. Medical
informaticsatHeidelberg/Heilbronn: status
evaluation –new challenges in aspecialised cur-
riculum for medical informatics after thirtyyears
of evolution. Int JMed Inf 2004; 73: 117-25.
10. Knaup P, Frey W, Haux R, LevenFJ. Medical
informaticsspecialists: what are theirjob pro-
files? Results of astudy on the first 1024 medical
informatics graduates of the Universities of Hei-
delbergand Heilbronn. Meth Inf Med 2003; 42:
11. Haux R, Schmidt D. Master of scienceprogram in
healthinformation management at Heidelberg/
Heilbronn: ahealthcare oriented approach to
medical informatics. Int JMed Inf 2002; 65: 31-9.
12. UniversityofMinnesota. Graduate programs in
aboutus/msphd.html. Last access: October 04.
13. UniversityofUtah.
medinfo/training.html. Last access: October
14. Gardner RM. UniversityofUtah medical in-
formaticsresearch and trainingprogram, In: Haux
R, Kulikowski C(eds.). IMIA Ye arbookofMedi-
cal Informatics 2001. Stuttgart:Schattauer; 2001,
pp. 103-11.
15. Patton GA, Gardner RM. Medical informatics
education:the UniversityofUtah experience.
JAMIA 1999; 6: 457-65.
16. Universityfor Health Sciences, Medical In-
formatics and Technology (UMIT). http://www. Last access: October 04.
17. Haux R. Biomedical and health informatics edu-
cation at UMIT– approaches and strategies at a
newlyfounded university. Int JMed Inf 2004; 73:
18. Gatewood L, LimburgM,Gardner R, et al. Inter-
national master classes in health informatics. Int J
Med Inf 2004; 73:111-6.
19. Ball MJ,Garets DE, Handler TJ.LeveragingITto
improve patient safety.Methods Inf Med 2003;
42: 503-8.
20. Hasman A, Safran C, Takeda H. Quality of health
care:informatics foundations. Methods Inf Med
2003; 42: 509-18.
21. Haux R, Winter A, Ammenwerth E, Brigl B.
Strategic information management in hospitals.
An introduction to hospitalinformation systems.
NewYork: Springer; 2004.
22. Haux R, Ammenwerth E, TerBurgWJ, Pilz J,
JaspersMWM. An international courseon
strategic information management for medical
informaticsstudents: aim, content, structure,
and experiences. Int JMed Inf 2004; 73:
23. Jaspers MWM, Ammenwerth E, ter BurgWJ,
Kaiser F, Haux R. An international course on stra-
tegic informationmanagement for medical in-
formatics students: the international perspectives
and evaluation.Int JMed Inf 2004; 73: 807-15.
24. Recommendations of the International Medical
Informatics Association (IMIA) on education in
healthand medical informatics. Methods Inf Med
2000; 39: 267-77.
25. Lun KC. Challenges in medical informatics:
perspectivesofaninternational medical in-
formatics organization. Methods Inf Med 2002;
41: 60–63.
26. Douglas JV,HovengaEJ. Health and medical in-
formatics competencies: call to participate in up-
dating the IMIA recommendations. Methods Inf
Med 2002; 41: 86-8.
27. LindbergDAB.Medicine in the 21stcentury:glo-
bal problems, globalsolutions. Methods Inf Med
2002; 41: 253-6.
28. Kulikowski CA. Amicro-macro spectrum of
medical informaticschallenges and opportunities:
from the informatics of molecular medicine to that
of transforming health care in aglobalizing so-
ciety.Methods Inf Med 2002; 41: 20–24.
29. Závaro J, Engelbrecht JH, Va nBemmel JH.
Education and traininginmedical informatics,
statistics and epidemiology in EuroMISE. Int J
Med Inf 1997; 45: 3-8.
30. Mantas, J. M. Sc. course in health informatics: an
inter-universitycooperation success storyin
Greece. Stud. Health Techn Informatics 2000; 57:
31. Hasman A. Education and traininginhealthin-
formatics: the IT-EDUCTRA project. Int JMed
Inf 1998; 50: 179-85.
32. Pudil P, Paterson M. Improving the quality of deci-
sion-making in health care management: aproject
reportfrom the Nevada/ Bohemia health manage-
ment education partnership. JHealthAdm Educ
1999; 16: 255-62.
33. UniversityofSurrey.
uk. Last Access:October 04.
34. Naszlady A. Contribution of EFMI to devel-
opment of medical informatics.European Feder-
ation for Medical Informatics. Med Arh 1999; 53:
35. Cesnik B. The future of health informatics. Int J
Med Inf 1999; 55: 83–85.
MethodsInf Med1/2005
International Partnership forHealthInformatics Education
For personal or educational use only. No other uses without permission. All rights reserved.
Downloaded from on 2013-08-30 | ID: 1000466784 | IP:
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
The International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) agreed on international recommendations in health informatics/medical informatics education. These should help to establish courses, course tracks or even complete programs in this field, to further develop existing educational activities in the various nations and to support international initiatives concerning education in health and medical informatics (HMI), particularly international activities in educating HMI specialists and the sharing of courseware. The IMIA recommendation centre on educational needs for healthcare professionals to acquire knowledge and skills in information processing and information and communication technology. The educational needs are described as a three-dimensional framework. The dimensions are: 1) professionals in healthcare (physicians, nurses, HMI professionals, ...), 2) type of specialisation in health and medical informatics (IT users, HMI specialists) and 3) stage of career progression (bachelor, master, ...) Learning outcomes are defined in terms of knowledge and practical skills for healthcare professionals in their role (a) as IT user and (b) as HMI specialist. Recommendations are given for courses/course tracks in HMI as part of educational programs in medicine, nursing, healthcare management, dentristy, pharmacy, public health, health record administration, and informatics/computer science as well as for dedicated programs in HMI (with bachelor, master or doctor degree). To support education in HMI, IMIA offers to award a certificate for high quality HMI education and supports information exchange on programs and courses in HMI through a WWW server of its Working Group on Health and Medical Informatics Education (
Medical errors and issues of patient safety are hardly new phenomena. Even during the dawn of medicine, Hippocrates counselled new physicians “to above all else do no harm.” In the United States, efforts to improve the quality of healthcare can be seen in almost every decade of the last century. In the early 1900s, Dr. Ernest Codman failed in his efforts to get fellow surgeons to look at the outcomes of their cases. In the 1970s, there was an outcry that the military allowed an almost blind surgeon to continue to practice and even transferred him to the prestigious Walter Reed Hospital. More recently, two reports by the Institute of Medicine caught the attention of the media, the American public, and the healthcare industry. To Err Is Human highlights the need to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety, and Crossing The Quality Chasm calls for a new health system to provide quality care for the 21st century.
The paper gives information on education and training covered by the Joint European Project (JEP) entitled 'Education in the Methodology Field of Health Care, EuroMISE (European Education in Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology)', that has been running for 3 years (1993-1995) under the umbrella of the European TEMPUS-PHARE programme. Training and education in EuroMISE consists of three overlapping methodological branches: Medical informatics (MI), medical statistics (MS) and epidemiology (E). The teaching scheme has been developed in cooperation between 11 universities in the European Union and Charles University in Prague (four medical faculties, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and the Faculty Hospital) together with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Institute of Computer Science). The paper shows EuroMISE targets, structure of EuroMISE courses and conferences and gives further views to the future in this field of education.
The specialized university curriculum for medical informatics (MI) at the University of Heidelberg/School of Technology Heilbronn is one of the oldest educational approaches in the field of MI and has been successful now for 25 years with about 1000 graduates (Diplom-Informatikerin der Medizin or Diplom-Informatiker der Medizin). It belongs to the category of dedicated master's programs for MI and is based on the concept of MI as a medical discipline of its own. It is oriented towards the total spectrum of MI ranging from health care economics, biosignal and medical image processing, medical documentation, to information and knowledge processing in medicine. It is a 4.5 years program with a strong emphasis on the methodological foundations of MI and on practical education in a number of specific laboratories. A total of 35 students are admitted each semester and in total about 440 students are enrolled. The faculty consists of 17 full-time members and about 25 part-time lecturers. The authors report on characteristics, structure and contents of the new fifth version of the curriculum and discuss the features of a specialized curriculum for MI with respect to the challenges for MI in the 21st century.
In this contribution the AIM project EDUCTRA and the Telematics Applications Programme IT-EDUCTRA will be described. EDUCTRA has as its aim to investigate what gaps in knowledge health professionals have about health informatics and to provide educational material to fill these gaps. It was believed that a basic understanding of health informatics was present and that educational material should only cover the knowledge necessary for appreciating the products of the AIM programme. It appeared that the knowledge with respect to health informatics was deplorable. Guidelines for curricula were developed to change the situation. In IT-EDUCTRA the necessary course material will be developed.
Health care is a data-sensitive and data-rich industry. Designers of health administration curricula recognize that future health care providers and managers must be trained to use available analytical and database information technology (IT) to transform these data into information helpful to the decision-maker. However, as the data available to administrators and clinicians proliferates, additional skills are needed to select data that is pertinent and useful. This paper presents the results of the collaboration of partners from Bohemia and University of Nevada and focuses on three areas: threats to the effective use of data to support health care decision-making;. health care decision support research and training strategies; future cross-disciplinary collaboration in health care decision support. Advanced IT methods have the potential to assist clinical and managerial decision-making. If further discussion is stimulated about the introduction of advanced IT methods into the health care management curriculum and research agenda, this paper will achieve its goal.
Whatever a future vision for health informatics entails, it must take into account the evolving nature of the field, a growing trend towards primary and preventive care and the explosive growth in global networking as exemplified by the Internet. While, historically, storage and retrieval of data has been the main target for information systems development, the need to capture knowledge itself is becoming the focus for development. In parallel, education in health informatics for tomorrow's healthcare professionals is now essential. The Asia Pacific Association for Medical Informatics (APAMI) is a regional group of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). While the newest of the IMIA regional organizations, its growth and activities in the Asia Pacific region aim to advance health informatics. Its triennial conferences act as a means of promoting and monitoring the growth of our field in this region, APAMI itself is a part of the future of health informatics.
The University of Utah has been educating health professionals in medical informatics since 1964. Over the 35 years since the program's inception, 272 graduate students have studied in the department. Most students have been male (80 percent) and have come from the United States (75 percent). Students entering the program have had diverse educational backgrounds, most commonly in medicine, engineering, computer science, or biology (59 percent of all informatics students). A total of 209 graduate degrees have been awarded, with an overall graduation rate of 87 percent since the program's start. Alumni are located in the United States (91 percent) and abroad (9 percent); half (51 percent) have remained in Utah. Former students are employed in a wide variety of jobs, primarily concerned with the application of medical informatics in sizable health care delivery organizations. Trends toward increasing managerial responsibility for medical informatics graduates and the emergence of the chief information officer role are noted.
The European Federation for Medical Informatics has been established in 1976. At the MIE 96 it has celebrated the 20th anniversary of its existence. During these 20 years the number of number of national societies who became a member has been increased from 10 to 26 and nowadays is 29 not mentioning 2-3 applicants. The objectives of EFMI are: a) to advance international co-operation and dissemination of information, b) to promote research and development, c) to promote high standards in the application, d) to encourage high standards in education in this field. The achieve these goals EFMI organizes yearly European Congresses the MIE-s. Through its working groups contributes very well to the scientific development of medical informatics. The Working Group Chairmen regularly organizes tutorials workshops and many of them participate in teaching medical informatics in their homeland as well as on international courses. EFMI publishes scientific papers from its congresses in the Medical Informatics and in the International Journal of Medical Informatics. The most important meeting, however is the regular Council Meeting--twice a year--where council members can exchange opinions, have opportunity to discuss problems of medical informatics and last but not lease recently medical Inform-ETHICS. This Council is operating as a HUMAN-NET counterbalancing the dysinformations coming from the Internet.