What are Canadian Medical Students Learning about Health Informatics?

Katrina F Hurley, Brett Taylor, Paul Postuma, Grace Paterson


Objective: To perform an environmental scan of health informatics teaching practices in Canadian medical schools as part of a quality improvement initiative at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine. Methodology: We contacted undergraduate medical education staff at all seventeen Canadian medical schools and, via e-mail, asked open-ended questions about informatics content in the curriculum, timing of content delivery, teaching methodologies and informatics faculty. Results: Sixteen of seventeen medical schools answered our queries. Each school identified curricular content on information literacy and evaluation of evidence but identified no formal core curriculum in health informatics. Conclusions: As of 2009, health informatics had not yet penetrated formal undergraduate medical curricula in Canada. Efforts to introduce health informatics initiatives should take into account the lack of understanding of the discipline of health informatics by educators and the densely packed nature of medical curricula. A new Canadian project, involving the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and Canada Health Infoway, offers promise for building new health informatics curricula within undergraduate medical education.


Medical Informatics; Undergraduate Medical Education; Curriculum

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