CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Yearb Med Inform 2022; 31(01): 100-104
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1742536
Special Section: Inclusive Digital Health

Special Section on Inclusive Digital Health: Notable Papers on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Literacy to Strengthen Health Systems

Brian E. Dixon
1   Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA
2   Center for Biomedical Informatics, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN, USA
John H. Holmes
3   Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
4   Institute for Biomedical Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
› Author Affiliations


Objective: To summarize significant research contributions on addressing bias, equity, and literacy in health delivery systems published in 2021.

Methods: An extensive search using PubMed and Scopus was conducted to identify peer-reviewed articles published in 2021 that examined ways that informatics methods, approaches, and tools could address bias, equity, and literacy in health systems and care delivery processes. The selection process comprised three steps: (1) 15 candidate best papers were first selected by the two section editors; (2) external reviewers from internationally renowned research teams reviewed each candidate best paper; and (3) the final selection of three best papers was conducted by the editorial committee of the Yearbook.

Results: Selected best papers represent studies that characterized significant challenges facing biomedical informatics with respect to equity and practices that support equity and literacy in the design of health information systems. Selected papers represent the full spectrum of this year’s yearbook theme. In general, papers identified in the search fell into one of the following categories: (1) descriptive accounts of algorithmic bias in medical software or machine learning approaches; (2) enabling health information systems to appropriately encode for gender identity and sex; (3) approaches to support health literacy among individuals who interact with information systems and mobile applications; and (4) approaches to engage diverse populations in the use of health information systems and the biomedical informatics workforce

Conclusions: Although the selected papers are notable, our collective efforts as a biomedical informatics community to address equity, literacy, and bias remain nascent. More work is needed to ensure health information systems are just in their use of advanced computing approaches and all persons have equal access to health care and informatics tools.

Section Editors for the IMIA Yearbook Section on Inclusive Digital Health

Publication History

Article published online:
04 December 2022

© 2022. IMIA and Thieme. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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