The University of Southampton

HMPR2007 Introduction to Healthcare Informatics

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To immerse you in the field of health informatics where we will examine key issues. These include (i) Information theory, (ii) The Electronic and Personal Health Record, (iii) Human factors, (iv) Governance, (v) Uses; (vi) Management; (vii) Data representation; and (viii) Interoperability. We will address each of these in this module except Data Representation and Interoperability.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically debate the key methods used in health informatics, and how to select among them
  • Discuss health informatics governance and how it is applied
  • Apply relevant information theory to the design and evaluation of health care information systems
  • Critically debate the important challenges currently faced by individuals seeking to improve health in the five health domains, and discuss how information resources, properly deployed, can help address these challenges
  • Assess and evaluate health care information systems
  • Refer to, use, and critically evaluate key theories that underpin health care informatics


The content of this module is informed by theoretical and empirical research. Taken together, we can divide this work into six broad themes, each of which we will examine and discuss over the course of the module. • Theories of information, and methods from computing and information science. o Theories and concepts of information and its relationship to methods of computing and information systems design. • The Electronic Health Record & The Personal Health Record. o Comparative national policies o Canonical health records o National and international standards o Uses and limits of health records are (and can be) used o Privacy issues o Big Data (We will also discuss how disparate data gathered on day-to-day individual behaviour (such as shopping data, travel data, online search behaviour) create a virtual health record, and the ethical and policy implications of this.) • Governance. o Security o Protection o Legal implications o Access o Ethics o Patient voice o Anonymization • Uses. o Telecare and Telehealth o Quantitative analytics including predictive modelling o Policy development and analysis o Decision support o Auditing o Measurement o Research o Service, management, and organizational improvement • Human factors. o Cognition and human computer interaction o Theories of behavioural change o Barriers and enablers to usage/uptake o Normalization, Structuration, Embeddedness, and Actor-Network theories o Professional identity and workplace routines • Management o New Engineering Contracts o Strategy o Design and analysis o Vendor relationships o Training and development

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

We will keep lectures to an absolute minimum, and will instead provide activity-driven classroom time that both delineate and make real various theories and approaches to analysing and evaluating systems. Because of the nature of the subject, some of which is fairly technical, there will be lecturing, but only to the extent that it helps you understand the details of the subject at hand. We assume that you have an interest in informatics, but no training or experience with it, information systems or computer science. And although we will discuss some of the more important social theories, this will not be a module focused on theory. Instead, we’ll look at theory to help explain some of the issues that we face in health informatics. Case studies and case analyses will have a central place in this module, and will be used to highlight and analyse the themes we have outlined above. In addition, you are encouraged to construct your own small, informal, case studies—probably derived from your own workplace—that we can use to discuss and evaluate. The idea is that we simply don’t learn techniques and theory, but we connect what we are learning to the real world because this is at the heart of the study of informatics. There will be guest lectures for each of the themes, drawn from senior researchers in the Faculty and University, as well as from local NHS Trusts. We will also involve both service users and community members who have an interest in, or who have been affected by, health informatics practice or policy. This will give us a chance to hear from people who are working in the field, and to whom we can ask searching questions.

Wider reading or practice27
Preparation for scheduled sessions54
Completion of assessment task80
Total study time188

Resources & Reading list

Saba, V.K., McCormick, K.A. eds. (2011). Essentials of Nursing Informatics. 

Shortliffe, E.H., Cimino, J.J., eds. (2006). Biomedical informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine. 

Ball, M.J., Douglas, J.V., Walker, P.H., eds. (2011). Nursing Informatics: Where Caring and Technology Meet. 

Anderson, J.G., Goodman, K.W. (2002). Ethics and Information Technology: A Case-Based Approach to a Health Care System in Transition. 

Brennan, P.F., Schneider, S.J., Tornquist, E., eds. (2012). Information Networks for Community Health. 


Assessment Strategy

Formative Assessment Formative assessment activities and subsequent feedback will be a key component of lectures, seminars and workshops. This might involve presenting your ideas verbally or in written form, either as an individual or in a group. This formative assessment is not compulsory but is designed to ensure that you can move forward in your learning and so support the successful completion of your summative assessments. Summative Assessments These assessments are compulsory and linked to whether you pass this module and to your progression on the degree programme.


MethodPercentage contribution
Case study report 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students may wish to purchase texts to support their learning, however, the library is well stocked with suitable texts.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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