JMIR Medical Informatics
Clinical informatics, decision support for health professionals, electronic health records, and ehealth infrastructures
JMIR Medical Informatics (JMI, ISSN 2291-9694; Impact Factor: 3.23) (Editor-in-chief: Christian Lovis, MD, MPH, FACMI) is an open-access PubMed/SCIE-indexed journal that focuses on the challenges and impacts of clinical informatics, digitalization of care processes, clinical and health data pipelines from acquisition to reuse, including: semantics, natural language processing, natural interactions, meaningful analytics and decision support, electronic health records, infrastructures, implementation, and evaluation (see Focus and Scope).
JMIR Medical Informatics adheres to rigorous quality standards, involving a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, and professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs. The journal is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, DOAJ, SCOPUS, and SCIE (Clarivate). In 2022, JMI received a Journal Impact Factor™ of 3.23 (5-Year Journal Impact Factor: 3.56) (Source: Journal Citation Reports™ from Clarivate, 2022).
The electronic health record (EHR) targets systematized collection of patient-specific, electronically stored health data. The EHR is an evolving concept driven by ongoing developments and open or unclear legal issues concerning medical technologies, cross-domain data integration, and unclear access roles. Consequently, an interdisciplinary discourse based on representative pilot scenarios is required to connect previously unconnected domains.
Digitization offers a multitude of opportunities to gain insights into current diagnostics and therapies from retrospective data. In this context, real-world data and their accessibility are of increasing importance to support unbiased and reliable research on big data. However, routinely collected data are not readily usable for research owing to the unstructured nature of health care systems and a lack of interoperability between these systems. This challenge is evident in drug data.
There is a variety of libre/free and open-source software (LIFOSS) products for medicine and health care. To support health care and IT professionals select an appropriate software product for given tasks, several comparison studies and web platforms, such as Medfloss.org, are available. However, due to the lack of a uniform terminology for health informatics, ambiguous or imprecise terms are used to describe the functionalities of LIFOSS. This makes comparisons of LIFOSS difficult and may lead to inappropriate software selection decisions. Using Linked Open Data (LOD) promises to address these challenges.
In emergency departments (EDs), early diagnosis and timely rescue, which are supported by prediction modes using ED data, can increase patients’ chances of survival. Unfortunately, ED data usually contain missing, imbalanced, and sparse features, which makes it challenging to build early identification models for diseases.
Medical coding is the process that converts clinical documentation into standard medical codes. Codes are used for several key purposes in a hospital (eg, insurance reimbursement and performance analysis); therefore, their optimization is crucial. With the rapid growth of natural language processing technologies, several solutions based on artificial intelligence have been proposed to aid in medical coding by automatically suggesting relevant codes for clinical documents. However, their effectiveness is still limited to simple cases, and it is not yet clear how much value they can bring in improving coding efficiency and accuracy.
Dermoscopy is commonly used for the evaluation of pigmented lesions, but agreement between experts for identification of dermoscopic structures is known to be relatively poor. Expert labeling of medical data is a bottleneck in the development of machine learning (ML) tools, and crowdsourcing has been demonstrated as a cost- and time-efficient method for the annotation of medical images.
Telehealth is an effective combination of medical service and intelligent technology. It can improve the problem of remote access to medical care. However, an imbalance in the allocation of health resources still occurs. People spend more time and money to access higher-quality services, which results in inequitable access to primary health care (PHC). At the same time, patients’ usage of telehealth services is limited by the equipment and their own knowledge, and the PHC service suffers from low usage efficiency and lack of service supply. Therefore, improving PHC accessibility is crucial to narrowing the global health care coverage gap and maintaining health equity. In recent years, China has explored several new approaches to improve PHC accessibility. One such approach is the capsule clinic, an emerging institution that represents an upgraded version of the internet hospital. In coordination with the United Nations, the Yinzhou district of Ningbo city in Zhejiang, China, has been testing this new model since 2020. As of October 2022, the number of applications in Ningbo was 15, and the number of users reached 12,219. Unlike internet hospitals, the entire process—from diagnosis to prescription services—can be completed at the capsule clinic. The 24-hour telehealth service could also solve transportation problems and save time for users. Big data analysis can accurately identify regional populations’ PHC service needs and improve efficiency in health resource allocation. The user-friendly, low-cost, and easily accessible telehealth model is of great significance. Installation of capsule clinics would improve PHC accessibility and resolve the uneven distribution of health resources to promote health equity.
Experts have noted a concerning gap between clinical natural language processing (NLP) research and real-world applications, such as clinical decision support. To help address this gap, in this viewpoint, we enumerate a set of practical considerations for developing an NLP system to support real-world clinical needs and improve health outcomes. They include determining (1) the readiness of the data and compute resources for NLP, (2) the organizational incentives to use and maintain the NLP systems, and (3) the feasibility of implementation and continued monitoring. These considerations are intended to benefit the design of future clinical NLP projects and can be applied across a variety of settings, including large health systems or smaller clinical practices that have adopted electronic medical records in the United States and globally.
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