148548 Charting the growth and maturity of public health informatics through peer-reviewed literature

Monday, November 5, 2007

John Araujo, PhD, MHSA , Office of the Chief Science Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Catherine Pepper, MLIS, MPH , National Center for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STDs, and Tuberculosis Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Janise Richards, MS, MPH, PhD , National Center for Public Health Informatics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
The public health informatics (PHI) field was defined in the peer-reviewed literature in 1995 and continuously has been described as an “emerging” field with the power to fundamentally change public health practice, research, and learning. Even though PHI has been recognized in the literature over the past 12 years, it remains described there as an “emerging” field within public health. One definitional element of a field has been described as having a base in specialized knowledge. A periodic, systematic survey of the published literature is important to characterize the increasing body of specialized knowledge in a field. This assessment examined the growth of PHI peer-reviewed literature as one indicator of a body of knowledge for PHI contributing to a formal recognition and establishment of PHI as an integral component of public health practice, research, and learning. The National Library of Medicine published PHI Current Bibliographies in Medicine (CBM) in 1996 and 2001, which were PHI-related literature compilations from 1980 through 1995 and 1996 through 2000, respectively. In order to make comparisons between these two intervals and from 2001 through 2006, we adopted the PHI CBM 96-4 search methodology described in the 1996 CBM. These three compilations were analyzed for publication rate, journals that distribute PHI-related articles, and categories of publication topics. The original 1996 and 2001 PHI CBM compilations resulted in 471 and 441 citations, respectively. Numbers of peer-reviewed publications related to PHI have increased since 2000. PHI-related articles have appeared in a wide variety of public health journals. A granular analysis of rates, publication outlets, and topics demonstrates the influence of multidisciplinary inputs of public health informatics. Our analysis suggests the evolving PHI peer-reviewed literature constitutes a specialized knowledgebase, which is one indicator that PHI may no longer be an emerging field but is becoming established within public health.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the definitional elements of a discipline: self regulation, specialized knowledge, service orientation. 2. Apply featured search methodology to retrieve PHI literature. 3. Discuss PHI’s evolution within the peer-reviewed scientific literature from 1996 to 2006.

Keywords: Public Health Informatics, Professionalism

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.