Two nurses talking

Applied health informatics research

Explore our work in applied health informatics, 1 of our areas of expertise in Health Informatics


The population is ageing and an increasing number of people have multiple long-term health conditions. To make a difference to patient care and wellbeing there's a need to understand and apply increasing volumes of data. We're working on ways to help clinicians and patients find and interpret the data they need, and apply the best practice guidelines for the given condition.

Health and care services use an assortment of IT systems – some modern and well-designed, but many are old and inefficient. Our applied health informatics research examines the effective design and use of IT in health and social care.

Our research helps answer pressing questions facing the health and care sectors, such as how to design efficient, user-friendly and safe computer systems, how to ensure information exchange between systems is reliable and clinically assured, and how technology can enhance wellbeing. Our academic staff use their substantial experience working in IT for the NHS to tackle these issues by promoting best practice in system design, implementation and evaluation.

One of the issues we're tackling is apathy in people with dementia – and we're looking at reducing apathy in different ways, such as through applications that support play and reminiscing, which can promote wellbeing. Based on standards we're helping to develop, individuals and organisations in health and social care are learning to improve their communication, and in doing so, improve the quality of care delivered to patients.

We're also investigating low-cost solutions that address health priorities in developing countries – such as the major challenges these countries face due to a lack of infrastructure.

Our applied health informatics research covers the following topics

  • Operational impact of digital health solutions
  • Scientific quality of health informatics evaluation
  • Safety and usability of health IT
  • IT solutions to support complex clinical decision-making
  • Quality of standards for health and care information exchange
  • Quality of patient transitions of care
  • Health IT in low and middle income countries
  • IT tools to facilitate behavioural change and promote wellbeing

Methods and facilities

Health informatics assesses quantitative outcomes – such as timings, quality scores and volumetrics – and qualitative dimensions – such as what works for who, and in what circumstances. We also use mixed research methods so we can assess both quantitative and qualitative outcomes.

Funders and collaborations

Recent research projects have received funding from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. Our researchers have access to frontline clinical experience of IT systems through our collaboration with Portsmouth Hospitals, University Hospitals Southampton and Hampshire Hospitals – and to a global network of expertise and decision-makers through our participation in the European Federation of Medical Informatics (EFMI), the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), the British Computer Society Health & Care (BCS), and the Professional Record Standards Body for health and social care (PRSB). 

Publication highlights

Measuring the operational impact of digitized hospital records - a mixed methods study
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, vol.16, (2016), Philip Scott et al

Artificial Intelligence in clinical decision support: challenges for evaluating AI and practical implications
IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 2019, DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1677903, Farah Magrabi, Elske Ammenwerth, Jytte Brender McNair, Nicolet F De Keizer, Hannele Hyppönen, Pirkko Nykänen, Michael Rigby, Dr Philip Scott, Tuulikki Vehko, Zoie Shui-Yee Wong, Andrew Georgiou

Learning health systems need to bridge the 'two cultures' of clinical informatics and data science
Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2018, DOI: 10.14236/jhi.v25i2.1062, Dr Philip Scott, Rachel Dunscombe, David Evans, Mome Mukherjee, Jeremy C. Wyatt

The safe and effective use of shared data underpinned by stakeholder engagement and evaluation practice
IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics, Volume 27, Issue 1, 2018, pages 25-28, DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1641194, Farah Magrabi, Elske Ammenwerth, Hannele Hyppönen, Pirkko Nykänen, Michael Rigby, Dr Philip Scott, Zoie Shui-Yee Wong, Andrew Georgiou

Discover our areas of expertise

Applied health informatics is 1 area of expertise within our Health Informatics research area – explore the others below.

Clinical outcome modelling

We're exploring ways of analysing health data to better calculate the risks patients face, and to evaluate new and improved techniques for managing patient care.
Pulseometer on finger
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Digital wellbeing

We're investigating how information technology – including communications and sensors – can be help people live long and healthy lives.
Computer and tablet
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Cross reality applications

We're exploring how virtual reality (VR) can improve patient's physical and psychological rehabilitation, and developing VR simulations for a range healthcare applications.
Man wearing VR headset used in healthcare
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Research groups

Centre for Healthcare Modelling and Informatics

We're working to develop technology that makes work more efficient for the organisations that form the National Health Service (NHS).

Interested in a PhD in Health Informatics?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Health Informatics postgraduate research degrees page.