Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

HLTHINFO 728 - Principles Health Informatics

15 Points

Semester 1



The study of information technology and information management concepts relevant to the delivery of high quality and cost-effective healthcare. Theoretical frameworks such as data management, decision support, strategic planning and implementation, change management, knowledge management and privacy and other ethical aspects of health informatics are included.


Restriction: POPLHLTH 728

Course information

Goals of the Course

This course outlines the information and information management concepts needed to deliver high-quality and cost-effective healthcare.

The general goals of the course are to:

  • Explain the nature of health informatics
  • Identify the role and importance of information management and technology in healthcare
  • Demonstrate the relevance of health informatics to the delivery of healthcare in New Zealand, particularly with respect to continuity of care and healthcare quality improvement
  • Expose the technical and ethical issues associated with the use of information management and technology

Learning Outcomes 

Following the course students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the scope of health informatics and its relevance to modern healthcare
  2. Distinguish the various types of healthcare information and how we use it in healthcare delivery
  3. Identify the main applications of health informatics and its role in integrated care
  4. Analyse the technical and cultural challenges of using health informatics
  5. Evaluate the role of information strategy in healthcare planning and service delivery. 

Content Outline 

The course aims to introduce healthcare professionals to the scope and relevance of the discipline of health informatics. It covers the basic principles and selects important examples to illustrate their application.

Course topics include

  • Data, information and knowledge, and other introductory concepts
  • Leveraging information - drivers, trends and challenges
  • Health information strategy
  • Innovation, advanced technologies, and change
  • Consumer informatics
  • Telehealth and other forms of technology-mediated health care
  • Probability and decision making
  • Standards and interoperability
  • Decision support systems, an introduction
  • Evaluation of health informatics initiatives
  • Looking to the future 

Learning and Teaching 

The course is divided into online modules, each with a series of supporting resources, including lectures, readings from the international research literature and other activities (e.g., software tutorials and focus questions for online discussion). All materials are accessed via the Web. Course readings are available via the University Library's web site. 

This is an online course with two optional face to face sessions; one at the beginning of the semester and another one at the end of the semester. These will be recorded and put up on CANVAS for those who cannot attend the sessions.

Learning Resources 

All materials will be available via Canvas, including links to readings, voice recordings and other resources; these are organised according to the learning module sequence. Students should study the key readings which, together with other learning activities, will support understanding and increase critical thinking skills. You are encouraged to join the online discussion as soon as possible and continue the course conversation to enrich your learning.


The assessment profile for the course is based on two assignments and a summary test.

Assignment 1 (30%) is a report of up to 2000 words supported by a relevant literature review (learning outcomes 1-3).

Assignment 2 (30%) consists of participation in small groups toward the construction of a wiki (per group) on select health informatics topics (learning outcomes 1-5).

The Summary Test (40%) will commence with individual open book short-essay responses (learning outcomes 1-5) requiring students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to apply principles in familiar and unfamiliar circumstances. In the week following submission there will one-on-one 20-minute vivas by videoconference, where the lecturer asks students to explain and extend their written responses.

Programme and Course Advice 

This is a core course for students enrolled in a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences in Health Informatics. It is a recommended course for the public health and health sciences programmes and for the Master of Information Technology. 

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator