Biomedical informatics addresses the study and use of information in biomedicine, helping the public, patients, clinicians, and researchers to better understand biology and to make decisions that improve health. Biomedical informatics thus becomes essential to precision medicine’s clinical implementation and scientific discovery.
With deep understanding of biomedicine, human behavior, and computational methods, biomedical informatics operates at all scales. Its network of 500-million patient records helps to generate evidence, and its 12,000-user clinical information system delivers evidence to clinicians. Patients use its home monitoring and predictions to steer diabetes management. Its risk analysis allows patients to navigate prophylaxis, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer. Use of information theory and topology help it to track influenza epidemics, address resistance to cancer therapy, and understand embryonic development. Large computing facilities help predict how proteins fold.
The volume of data and complexity of information require new methods in data science, and as such, the expertise in biomedical informatics at Columbia is crucial for the precision medicine pipeline.