Spring Term 1995
Prof. Peter Szolovits (email@example.com)
Class times: MW 2:30-4:00pm
Medicine is (finally) in the middle of an information processing
revolution. Dramatic improvements in computer technology are making
possible comprehensive record-keeping systems, automated laboratories
and therapeutic devices, and sophisticated visualization techniques.
Societal demands for cost-effective care result in vast collections of
clinical outcomes data that provide opportunities to learn from
experience. New organizational structures for providing health care
(such as HMO's) and an increased importance of the role of the patient
in his or her health care provide additional new opportunities for
innovative technical contributions.
This class will analyze the computational needs of clinical medicine,
review the history of interesting systems and approaches that have
begun to support those needs, and present the computer technologies
that appear most applicable to contributing to revolutionary advances.
We will also have numerous real databases available from Boston-area
hospitals, and the participation of doctors from those institutions
who are currently developing new systems and applications.
Some of the homework and a final paper will be based on innovative
applications of sophisticated computing techniques to real clinical
data. We will explore topics in automated diagnosis, monitoring,
detection of errors in treatment, learning new models from data,
personalizing explanations to specific patients, etc. We will also
examine the architectures of recently-built comprehensive clinical
Students are expected to have a flexible competence in programming,
because assignments will involve use of diverse databases and
programming languages. A knowledge of artificial intelligence at the
level of 6.034 will also be assumed, as many AI techniques will find
application in the class material. The class is open to both
undergraduate and graduate students, and will qualify for Graduate H
Professor: Peter Szolovits 253-3476, firstname.lastname@example.org
Course secretary: Heather Grove 253-5860, email@example.com
Textbook for the class will be Shortliffe, et al., Medical
Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care, Addison-Wesley
1990. It is now available from Quantum Books (not from the Coop, I
think) for $45.95, which is about 7% off list.
Class notes will regularly be posted on the World-Wide Web at URL:
In general, we will not be able to post copyrighted material, but
notes, class lists, outlines, and reading lists will appear there.
Members of the class interested in posting material or providing
cross-references to other URL's should please contact me. See
material contributed thus far, below.
Course conduct and grading
Grades will be based on grades assigned on a class project or projects
and on a final paper that will be expected from each student. Members
of the class are encouraged to collaborate with each other on
projects, and co-authored project write-ups will be happily accepted.
The final paper must be written individually, though sharing of ideas
and discussion with others is fine.
The class will be "interactive," and students will be asked to
make brief presentations at almost all class meetings.
The class will meet every Monday and Wednesday afternoon for 1 1/2
hours, except that there are no MIT classes on Feb. 20 (President's
Day), Mar. 27-31 (Spring Break), and Apr. 17 (Patriot's Day).
According to the MIT schedule, Tuesday Feb. 21 is supposed to be
conducted on a Monday schedule, but because of other commitments I
have for that day, we will have only the Wednesday meeting of the
class during that week.
I plan to have a number of guest lectures by Boston-area medical
computing specialists, but we do not yet have a final schedule of
guests or indeed daily topics. The following are some of the topics
that will be (or have been) covered:
I am happy to collect appropriate pointers to reference information
and index them here. Your contributions are welcome.
- Introduction--Health Care and Computing
- Nature of Clinical Data
- Hospital Information Systems
- Architectures for HIS
- Clinicians' Workstation
Dr. Isaac Kohane discussed with the class on Monday, 2/27/95, the design
and performance of an Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMRS), termed
the Clinician's Workstation (CWS). A copy of Kohane's transparencies
can be downloaded for your review.
Click here to download files from the course ftp site.
- Data Storage Models and Standards (An example of a research
project investigating interchange among disparate databases is the COIN Project at MIT's
- Privacy and Security
- Software Engineering
- Understanding the Content of Medical Information
- Reasoning Based on Associations
- Simple Bayesian Systems
- Rule-based Systems
- Frame-based Systems
- Classification Systems
- Case-based Reasoners
- Bayesian Networks
- Set-covering algorithms
- Neural Nets and Other Tunable Systems
- Dealing with Time
- Time-oriented databases
- Repetitive decisions
- Temporal queries
- Trend detection
- Consistency relations
- Temporal truth maintenance
- Markov and Semi-Markov models
- Temporal Bayes networks
- Model-based reasoning
- Physiologic models
- Clinical Causal models
- Semi-quantitative models
- Qualitative models
- Multi-level models
- Additional Representation Issues
- Utility and Preference
- Explanation and Justification
- Medical Education
Columbia University's pointers to
medical sites on the Web.
Medical Informatics Links.
Stanford's CAMIS list of
Medical Informatics Training Programs.
Thanks to Tom Lee for another pointer to Web
Health Related Sites.
Jiri Schindler has collected a set of references on electronic
medical record systems.
The following references about clinical
practice guidelines were contributed to the MEDINF-L mailing list
by Alvaro Margolis, M.D., Dept. of Medical Informatics, U. of Utah
School of Medicine. He also points out that there is also on the Web
a list of AHCPR
Here is an extensive set of notes for Columbia University's
Medical Informatics course on the Web.
Here are some other Web sites I have found interesting:
- Fellowships in Medical Informatics
- COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY CPMC HOMEPAGE
- Visible Human Project
- Sunrise Home Page for Health Care Informatics Standards
- CBR Medical Demos and Project Descriptions
- Privacy and Integrity of Computerized Medical Records
- MSDS Healthcare Standards Home Page
- DOD Telemedicine: Federated Laboratory Intro
Last update: firstname.lastname@example.org - 4/5/95