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In JMIR medical informatics ; h5-index 23.0

BACKGROUND : There were 2 major incentives introduced by the Chinese government to promote medical informatics in 2009 and 2016. As new drugs are the major source of medical innovation, informatics-related concepts and techniques are a major source of digital medical innovation. However, it is unclear whether the research efforts of medical informatics in China have met the health needs, such as disease management and population health.

OBJECTIVE : We proposed an approach to mapping the interplay between different knowledge entities by using the tree structure of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to gain insights into the interactions between informatics supply, health demand, and technological applications in digital medical innovation in China.

METHODS : All terms under the MeSH tree parent node "Diseases [C]" or node "Health [N01.400]" or "Public Health [N06.850]" were labelled as H. All terms under the node "Information Science [L]" were labelled as I, and all terms under node "Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques, and Equipment [E]" were labelled as T. The H-I-T interactions can be measured by using their co-occurrences in a given publication.

RESULTS : The H-I-T interactions in China are showing significant growth and a more concentrated interplay were observed. Computing methodologies, informatics, and communications media (such as social media and the internet) constitute the majority of I-related concepts and techniques used for resolving the health promotion and diseases management problems in China. Generally there is a positive correlation between the burden and informatics research efforts for diseases in China. We think it is not contradictory that informatics research should be focused on the greatest burden of diseases or where it can have the most impact. Artificial intelligence is a competing field of medical informatics research in China, with a notable focus on diagnostic deep learning algorithms for medical imaging.

CONCLUSIONS : It is suggested that technological transfers, namely the functionality to be realized by medical/health informatics (eg, diagnosis, therapeutics, surgical procedures, laboratory testing techniques, and equipment and supplies) should be strengthened. Research on natural language processing and electronic health records should also be strengthened to improve the real-world applications of health information technologies and big data in the future.

Du Jian, Chen Ting, Zhang Luxia


Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), health demand, informatics supply, medical informatics, technological applications