Book cover

A personal review by Rod Ward of

From Patient Data to Medical Knowledge:

The Principles and Practice of Health Informatics

by Paul Taylor

This new book has been written by Paul Taylor who has been teaching Health Informatics at University College London since 1999, during which he recognised how ill-defined the subject is and the wide range of eclectic principles it is based on. These insights have help him to clarify his "essence" of health informatics and the principles on which it is based, and these are presented in this book.

The first part of the book discusses issues around the creation and use of patient records and moves on to use a very wide definition of medical knowledge - examining how the two are linked. The next chapter looks at access ad use of medical knowledge, focusing on doctors but most of the conclusions can be applied to other health professions.

The second and largest part of the book is entitled "The Principles of Health Informatics and includes chapters about the capture, representation, encoding and interpretation of data and then moves on to examine logic (in all its forms) as the basis for knowledge representation. These are expanded and explored in subsequent chapters on clinical terms, standards and probability in which a wide range of studies and projects are cited to give a picture of the present state of knowledge on these topics.

The third, and perhaps most interesting part of the book, looks at the introduction of information technology as a method of achieving change in practice and organisations, with a focus on the UKs National Health Service (NHS).

The conclusion draws together the themes within the book and looks into the near future.

The book is generally well written and will provide something of use to anyone studying health informatics. Some of the chapters require previous knowledge (e.g. Bayesian probability) but most of the areas will strike a chord for anyone with a knowledge of healthcare practice.

The book is well produced with good use of diagrams and figures and a fairly comprehensive index.


Page Created: 6.4.06

Last Updated: 6.4.06