Prof. Christo El Morr authors first-of-its-kind health informatics book in Canada

Health informatics Professor Christo El Morr in the Faculty of Health at York University has authored the new book Introduction to Health Informatics: A Canadian Perspective (Canadian Scholars Press), an engaging textbook that unpacks health informatics from a uniquely Canadian perspective.

Introduction to Health Informatics: A Canadian Perspective is the first book of its kind to address a gap in availability of Canadian-centred health informatics books and provide a Canadian perspective on health informatics grounded in the unique Canadian health-care system.

“Although many textbooks exist in health informatics, the vast majority are based on the United States health-care environment; none is fully adequate for teaching in Canada given the many major disparities between our health-care system and the one in the United States,” said El Morr. “Until now, there has been no textbook that has tackled health informatics from a Canadian perspective covering Canadian experiences.”

The book takes a bottom-up approach from the health informatics building blocks (computers, networks, databases, information systems and user interfaces) to major health informatics systems (information systems in hospitals, telemedicine, consumer health informatics, public health informatics, electronic health records), and looks at the privacy/confidentiality and data security challenges and solutions as well as the emerging trends such as artificial intelligence, analytics and big data.

Christo El Morr

The book takes a multidisciplinary approach to identify how health informatics influences and affects a range of Canadian health-care stakeholders, including populations, patients, doctors, nurses, managers, clinicians and governments.

Presented in a clear and concise way, the book does not encourage prolonged lectures; rather, it is intentionally conceived to assist both professors and students in engaging in a learning experience. It incorporates a learning framework adopted at York University, developed by Professor Alf Lizzio, “The Five Senses of Academic Success,” by providing students with a clear path to acquire resourcefulness, connectedness, capability, purpose and academic culture.

The book also inspires from the growth mindset approach developed by Professor Carol Dweck, a leading researcher in social and developmental psychology, that stresses that “qualities are things you cultivate through your efforts.”

Through a multitude of tactics, including reflective activities, practical assignments and test-your-knowledge-type exercises, the book encourages students to practise the growth mindset discovery: that capabilities are not fixed and that if one puts in the effort and takes the time, one can learn and improve.

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