Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 303 - Health Informatics

15 Points

Semester One


Current students can view the Digital Course Outline for this course.


Students will explore the development and management of information systems in contemporary New Zealand healthcare services. Health informatics concepts, conceptualised in different healthcare settings, are critically reviewed in terms of their practical application.


Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 101, 202


In this course we examine health information issues in the health care sector. Health Informatics is an interdisciplinary field based on health and computer science, information science, epidemiology, telecommunications and business management. We cover the fundamental elements of New Zealand’s health information system and how it supports the delivery of quality healthcare.

This course has been organised to cover a wide variety of topics relating to health information, its uses and the advantages offered by utilising technology. It is designed to:  

  • Introduce you to the principles of health informatics
  • Contextualise the principles in different healthcare settings
  • Explore the practical application of the contextualised principles, e.g., using a demonstration of a health information software system.

We aim for the lecturers and students to work together in a collaborative fashion using the material supplied to stimulate discussion and illustration of key principles. All students will need to be prepared to contribute in discussions, i.e. do the recommended readings for the lectures. While some people may feel more comfortable offering comment than others, we encourage you all to participate and to share ideas, voice questions or doubts and introduce relevant articles or events. 


Key course objectives

The course is designed to give you an overview of the principles first, provide context and then explore health informatics in practice. Learning objectives are provided in the timetable in each session outline and associated readings.

By the end of the course you should be able to

  • Provide an overview of the health informatics landscape in New Zealand, including some comparison with successes in other countries 
  •  Discuss principles of health informatics, such as the difficulty of supporting integration of care for people with long term conditions 
  •  Critically evaluate the application of the principles of health informatics, e.g., development of innovative technology to respond to healthcare problems.

Course format and structure

There are two one-hour lectures and one one-hour tutorial each week. 

There are three components to this course:

  • 'Foundation' of health informatics in which you are introduced to the concepts and language of the field.                                                                             

  • 'Building blocks' of theory and concepts that distinguish the field of health informatics.  

  • In the second half of the semester we will examine the application of health informatics in the 'real world' using examples in discussion with guest speakers. 


Assignment 1:       30%

Assignment 2:       30%

Final examination: 40%

Recommended readings/textbook

There is no text book. All your course materials are available via Canvas in the form of links to research articles, websites, YouTube, and the software where you will upload your assignments. 

Course Director