Historical Roots of International Biomedical and Health Informatics: The Road to IFIP-TC4 and IMIA through Cybernetic Medicine and the Elsinore Meetings
11 September 2017 (online)
Background: It is 50 years since the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) Societies approved the formation of a new Technical Committee (TC) 4 on Medical Information Processing under the leadership of Professor Francois Grémy, which was the direct precursor of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA).
Objectives: The goals of this paper are to give a very brief overview of early international developments leading to informatics in medicine, with the origins of the applications of computers to medicine in the USA and Europe, and two meetings - of the International Society of Cybernetic Medicine, and the Elsinore Meetings on Hospital Information Systems - that took place in 1966. These set the stage for the formation of IFIP-TC4 the following year, with later sponsorship of the first MEDINFO in 1974, setting the path for the evolution to IMIA.
Methods: This paper reviews and analyzes some of the earliest research and publications, together with two critical contrasting meetings in 1966 involving international activities in what evolved into biomedical and health informatics in terms of their probable influence on the formation of IFIP-TC4.
Conclusion: The formation of IFIP-TC 4 in 1967 by Francois Grémy arose out of his concerns for merging, at an international level, the diverse strands from the more abstract work on cybernetic medicine and its basis in biophysical and neural modeling, with the more concrete and health-oriented medical information processing that was developing at the time for hospitals and clinical decision-making.
- 1 Grémy F, Leterrier F. Eléments de biophysique. Tome 1. Paris: Flammarion Médecine-Sciences; 1966
- 2 Grémy F, Joly H, Pages J-C. Application des Machines à Traiter l’Information au Diagnostic Médical. In Proceedings IVth Congres International de Médecine Cybernetique. Masturzo A, Nayrac P. eds, Nice, France: September 1966: 289-97.
- 3 Nash FA. Differential Diagnosis, an apparatus to assist the logical faculties. Lancet 1954; 266: 874-5.
- 4 Paycha F. Critique scientifique des démarches intellectuelles du diagnostic. Presse Med 1955; 63: 1753-6.
- 5 Lipkin M, Hardy JD. Mechanical correlation of data in differential diagnosis of hematological diseases. JAMA 1958; 166: 113-25.
- 6 Ledley RS, Lusted LB. Reasoning Foundations of Medical Diagnosis Science. 1959; 130: 9-21.
- 7 Overall JE, Williams CM. Models for medical diagnosis. Behav Sci 1961; 06: 134-41.
- 8 Collen MF, Rubin L, Neyman J, Dantzig GB, Baer RM, Siegelaub AB. Automated multiphasic screening and diagnosis. Amer J Public Health 1964; 54: 741-50.
- 9 Warner HR, Toronto AF, Veasy LG, Stephenson R. A mathematical approach to medical diagnosis. Application to congenital heart disease. JAMA 1961; 177: 177-83.
- 10 Feinstein AR. Boolean algebra and clinical taxonomy. I. Analytical synthesis of the general spectrum of a human disease. New Eng J Med 1963; 269: 929-38.
- 11 Engle RL, Davis BJ. Medical Diagnosis: Past, Present and Future: III: Diagnosis in the future, including a critique on the use of electronic computers as diagnostic aids to the clinician. Arch Int Med 1963; 112: 530-43.
- 12 Jacquez JA. The Diagnostic Process: Proceedings of a Conference at the University of Michigan. 1963
- 13 Lusted LB. Introduction to Medical Decision Making. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas; 1968
- 14 Lindberg DAB. The Computer and Medical Care. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas; 1968
- 15 Enslein K. editor. Data Acquisition and Processing in Biology and Medicine. New York: Pergamon; 1964
- 16 Ledley RS. Use of Computers in Biology and Medicine. New York: McGraw Hill; 1965
- 17 Masturzo A. Cybernetic Medicine. Springfield IL: Charles C Thomas; 1965
- 18 Weiner N. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. New York: MIT Press and J Wiley; 1948
- 19 Shannon CE. A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal. 1948; 27: 379-442 and 27:623–56, and Shannon CE, Weaver W. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana IL: Univ of Illinois Press; 1949.
- 20 Oberhoffer G. Report on an international seminar for medical documentation and statistics. Methods Inf Med 1962; 01: 27-31.
- 21 Hansen T. Proceedings of the First International Hospital Data Processing Conference. Elsinore: 1966
- 22 Proceedings of the First International Conference on Medical Informatics, Stockholm. North-Holland: 1974
- 23 McCulloch WS, Pitts WA. Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity. Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 1943; 05: 115-33.
- 24 Uhr L. Pattern Recognition Psychol Bulletin. 1963; 60: 40-73.
- 25 Watanabe S. Knowing and Guessing. New York: Wiley; 1968
- 26 Masturzo A, Nayrac P. editors. Proceedings IVth Congres International de Medecine Cybernetique. Nice, France: Editions C.R.E.N.A.F; September 1966
- 27 Waxman BD. Public Health Service support of biomedical computing. Proceedings 3rd IBM Medical Symposium, Endicott; NY IBM: 1961: 199-202.
- 28 Collen M. Automated multiphasic screening as a diagnostic method for preventive medicine. Methods Inf Med 1965; 04: 71-4.
- 29 Brodman K, van Woerkom AJ. Computer-aided diagnostic screening for 100 common diseases. JAMA 1966; 197: 901-5.
- 30 Minsky M. Perceptrons. MIT Press; 1968
- 31 Weizenbaum J. Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company; 1976
- 32 Grémy I. Personal Communication from JC Pagès transmitted by B Séroussi.
- 33 Degoulet P. Personal Communication via B. Séroussi.
- 34 Degoulet P, Haux R, Kulikowski C, Lun KC. François Grémy and the Births of IMIA. 1st IMIA/ UMIT Medical Informatics Award of Excellence given to Professor Grémy. Methods Inf Med 2005; 44: 349-51.
- 35 Degoulet P, Fieschi M, Goldberg M, Salomon R. Francois Grémy, a Humanist and Information Sciences Pioneer. Yearb Med Inform 2014; 09 (01) 3-5.
- 36 Anderson J, Forsythe JM. editors. Information Processing of Medical Records. Proc of the IFIP-TC4 Working Conference on Information Processing of Medical Records, Lyon, April 6-10, 1970. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1970
- 37 Zywietz C, Schneider B. editors. Computer Application on ECG and VCG Analysis. Proc 2nd IFIP-TC4 Working Conference, Hanover 1971. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1973
- 38 Anderson J, Grémy F, Pagès JC. editors. Education in Informatics of Health Personnel. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1974
- 39 De Dombal FT, Grémy F. editors. Decision Making and Medical Care. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1976