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A Basic Understanding of Informatics

A Basic Understanding of Informatics

Many professionals see the word “informatics” and think of one of two things. First, what the heck is it? Second, isn’t that just computer science? While the two certainly are similar and often used interchangeably, they are quite different. Let’s take a deeper dive and see what the field of informatics entails, how it can be applied to computer science and business, and why it’s important to consider for your organization.

Defining Informatics

Pinning down informatics is a bit of a tricky one, as it is most commonly used when referring to healthcare. In regards to medical informatics, Merriam-Webster defines it as “the collection, classification, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of recorded knowledge.” Now, we know what you’re thinking. Wouldn't that definition be applicable in just about any other context? Well, you’re not the first one to think of this definition in a fluid manner.

The definition of informatics has shifted throughout the years to reflect this more abstract line of thought. Generally speaking, informatics can be referred to as the study of any system, artificial or natural, and how it shares or processes information of some sort. If we zoom out a bit with our definition, you can see how informatics can be applied in many different ways, whether we are discussing natural systems in the biological world (like neuroscience or the study of the brain), or computing systems (like computers or algorithms). By now it should be clear why it is so commonly used synonymously with computing, but what are some of its applications?

Informatics in Computing

In the case of computing, you can boil informatics down to the way that data is shared across either your internal network or across multiple networks (like the Internet). Data is spread out across your network, collected, classified, stored, retrieved, and distributed to workstations as applicable. This happens on a micro level on a day-to-day basis, but the scale and scope at which this happens is very flexible.

One of the best examples for how informatics can be applied to computing is through the use of big data. Traditionally, big data as a term refers to a large mass of data that is too expansive to analyze with traditional data analysis tools but can be used for the purposes of interpretation and extrapolation. Thus, businesses can learn a lot by analyzing their big data; they might even be able to identify trends that can be leveraged for growth in the coming years.

How Can Your Business Benefit?

Too often businesses sit on a treasure trove of data that can be analyzed, extrapolated, and applied to various operations or business functions. 415 IT can help equip your organization with the tools to take full advantage of its data, from storage to dissemination. To learn more about how we can help your business, reach out to us at (415) 295-4898.

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