Biomedical informatics meets data science: Current state and future directions for interaction

Philip R.O. Payne*, Elmer V. Bernstam, Justin B. Starren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


There are an ever-increasing number of reports and commentaries that describe the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of big data and data science (DS) in the context of biomedical education, research, and practice. These publications argue that there are substantial benefits resulting from the use of data-centric approaches to solve complex biomedical problems, including an acceleration in the rate of scientific discovery, improved clinical decision making, and the ability to promote healthy behaviors at a population level. In addition, there is an aligned and emerging body of literature that describes the ethical, legal, and social issues that must be addressed to responsibly use big data in such contexts. At the same time, there has been growing recognition that the challenges and opportunities being attributed to the expansion in DS often parallel those experienced by the biomedical informatics community. Indeed, many informaticians would consider some of these issues relevant to the core theories and methods incumbent to the field of biomedical informatics science and practice. In response to this topic area, during the 2016 American College of Medical Informatics Winter Symposium, a series of presentations and focus group discussions intended to define the current state and identify future directions for interaction and collaboration between people who identify themselves as working on big data, DS, and biomedical informatics were conducted. We provide a perspective concerning these discussions and the outcomes of that meeting, and also present a set of recommendations that we have generated in response to a thematic analysis of those same outcomes. Ultimately, this report is intended to: (1) summarize the key issues currently being discussed by the biomedical informatics community as it seeks to better understand how to constructively interact with the emerging biomedical big data and DS fields; and (2) propose a framework and agenda that can serve to advance this type of constructive interaction, with mutual benefit accruing to both fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-141
Number of pages6
JournalJAMIA Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Big data
  • Biomedical informatics
  • Data science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomedical informatics meets data science: Current state and future directions for interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this