Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 06:10:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: MedInformaticsMD
Subject: Re: GSK Director of Medical Informatics
To: (recruiter)

Re: GSK Director of Medical Informatics

Dear (recruiter name),

Thanks for presenting my resume to GSK regarding a position in Medical Informatics. Your colleague explained to me yesterday that the GSK Informatics & Knowledge Management group is seeking someone with an "extensive CS background to write algorithms to solve business problems."

As what sounds like a programmer's position would not be of interest to me at this point in my career, I wish to inquire if other executives within the CEDD's or business-facing IT groups at GSK might be interested in my background.

More detail on my accomplishments from the perspective of scientists and executives for whom I've led projects can be seen at
this link.

Alternately, if you can suggest the names of any appropriate GSK contacts within the CEDD's, I would like to contact them directly.

Finally, by way of education after this experience and the experiences I had with Smithkline Beecham's recruiter Iain Mackenzie in 2000 regarding medical informatics, prior to my employ at Merck--

It is my belief that a view of medical informatics professionals as "writers of algorithms to solve business problems"
reflects a fundamentally narrow and mechanistic view of the field, or perhaps a mislabeling of the position as being one of Medical Informatics. The lack of a requirement for formal Medical Informatics education and training suggests the latter. [At the time I wrote this I had been thinking of using the term "cybernetic" or "cybernetic miracle" instead of "mechanistic", but that would probably have gotten a "so, what's wrong with that?" response from GSK - ed.]

One of Medical Informatics' founders, Dr. Homer Warner, was the author many years ago of the definition adapted for the ArmstrongCraven draft brief. Homer wrote that "medical informatics is the study, invention and implementation of structures and algorithms to improve communication, understanding and management of medical information." See my website on this and other definitions of the field at .

By "algorithms", however, Homer
meant not computer algorithms but more broadly the development of processes, procedures, methodologies -- and software systems -- for management, process control, decision making and scientific analysis in healthcare. That is the current understanding of the field that my academic colleagues and I teach our students.

The value of the field stems not so much from writing algorithms (as in bioinformatics or computational biology), but from an integrative approach focusing on data definitional issues, language issues, human factors, organizational issues, information needs and flows, and strategies for indexing, retrieval and information dissemination. It is in the latter areas that I excel (although having done the former -- the writing of software and algorithms -- earlier in my career).

My definition of the field is that Medical Informatics is the science and art of modeling and recording real-world clinical concepts and events into computable data used to derive actionable information, based on expertise in medicine, information science, information technology, and the scholarly study of issues that impact upon the productive use of information systems by clinical personnel.

Perhaps a better definition of Medical Informatics is found in MeSH itself, written by the National Library of Medicine itself: "Medical Informatics is the field of information science concerned with the analysis and dissemination of medical data through the application of computers to various aspects of health care and medicine."

I hope this information is of value to ArmstrongCraven.