This weekend I had the privilege of seeing the awesome reboot of Jurassic Park, Jurassic World. If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t worry I am not going to give any of it away. Seeing the film, however, got me to thinking about informatics. Why, you might ask would I think about informatics while seeing Jurassic World. I think it has something to do with the millions of Neurons firing in my brain similar to this image borrowed from Boston Magazine. My brain is constantly in motion, and it got me to thinking could informatics promote Michael Crichton’s original genetics nightmare?
Using many of the DNA sampling kits currently on the market, it would be possible to collect dinosaur DNA and sample it so as to represent a DNA model. Now here is where my stretch thoughts about informatics come into play. I today’s world informatics along with a great deal of research has helped us to isolate the specific genes that cause cancer (as shown in this image from Softpedia).
I would argue that informatics is one of the disciplines that enables our researcher and practitioner community to collect and understand the data necessary to conduct research experiments and draw conclusions that may ultimately lead to a cure for a particular type of cancer. It is informatics that also helps pharmacists and providers understand the effectiveness and side effects that a particular drug might have a certain kind of patient. In this new world. We are beginning to call personalized medicine it is the informaticist that provides the capabilities to help physicians, patients, and researchers to understand the data they are collecting.
The same case could be made for understanding the DNA of a dinosaur. Using technologies we have today, we can certainly model the DNA for a particular dinosaur. But, what about those gaps in the DNA that prove so terribly troublesome in the book and movies? With our understanding of data informaticists can work with the researchers to understand the gaps, evaluate the type of DNA that would best fit the holes, and even hypothesize on what the Dinosaur’s disposition might be given the various mixes of DNA. Now I am not arguing that this process is possible, and if possible should happen; my point is that it is the informaticist that helps to understand the data.
I’ve come across many HCOs who consider informaticists to be just coders. I hope that with the points I made above folks within and outside the industry will begin to think of informaticists as professionals with significant technology and data manipulation capabilities.