After long trailing other sectors of the economy, health care and health professional education have embraced information technology as a strategic resource in the past two decades. Most of the population uses computers and the Internet routinely to manage many parts of their lives, and patients justifiably expect a comparable level of technological sophistication and online customer service from the health care system. The tremendous potential for information technology in health care is still in the process of being actualized.
The technical and theoretical details underlying clinical informatics are beyond the scope of this chapter. What follows is a concise introduction to topics and resources of general interest in this field, presented to help clinicians use information technology for the benefit of patient care.