We define biomedical informatics (BMI) as the art and science of organizing knowledge of human health and disease and making it useful for problem solving.  More specifically, it is the interdisciplinary scientific field that studies the capture, representation, and use of biomedical data and knowledge.  BMI draws on the methods of many basic disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology, as well as applied sciences such as medicine, nursing, computer science, cognitive science, pharmacology and allied health sciences.  It includes studies of information and the tools needed to produce and use information that will ultimately lead to greater prevention and treatment of disease and overall improvement in human health.  There are many subdomains of BMI, each of which, focuses on its own particular problems and solutions.


Originally relating to the informatics of biotechnology (a term used to refer to the sequencing of DNA, RNA and proteins), this term has come to comprise methods and tools for representing, understanding and transforming all manner of biological data. Although, analysis of molecular sequences is still a major focus, biomolecular structure, function and pathways, and biochemical simulations (referred to as in silico biology) have become important as well.


Translational Bioinformatics research can refer to the application of foundational principles of laboratory research (bench side), clinical research (bed side) and medical practice (community), translational informatics refers to the methods and tools applied to the interface between bioinformatics and clinical research.


Clinical research informatics entails all manner of activities but often focuses on retrospective historical studies and prospective clinical trials. Clinical research informatics pursues the development of methods and tools that support clinical researchers, whether that is reusing previously collected data or collecting new data in studies of their own. Clinical research informaticians seek to improve not only data collection but also the entire research process, from hypothesis generation, through study design and approval, to study execution and finally the analysis of study data. Clinical data repositories and clinical trials data management systems are major areas of focus in clinical research informatics.


Clinical informatics refers to the practice of patient care by physicians, nurses or other health care professionals. Clinical informatics researchers seek to develop ways to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care, through better information collection, communication and decision support. Electronic health records (EHR) are a major, but not the only, focus of clinical informatics.