The Development History and Research Tendency of Medical Informatics : Topic Evolution Analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31918
Journal / PublicationJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number1
Online published27 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022



Background: Medical informatics has attracted the attention of researchers worldwide. It is necessary to understand the development of its research hot spots as well as directions for future research.
Objective: The aim of this study is to explore the evolution of medical informatics research topics by analyzing research articles published between 1964 and 2020.
Methods: A total of 56,466 publications were collected from 27 representative medical informatics journals indexed by the Web of Science Core Collection. We identified the research stages based on the literature growth curve, extracted research topics using the latent Dirichlet allocation model, and analyzed topic evolution patterns by calculating the cosine similarity between topics from the adjacent stages.
Results: The following three research stages were identified: early birth, early development, and rapid development. Medical informatics has entered the fast development stage, with literature growing exponentially. Research topics in medical informatics can be classified into the following two categories: data-centered studies and people-centered studies. Medical data analysis has been a research hot spot across all 3 stages, and the integration of emerging technologies into data analysis might be a future hot spot. Researchers have focused more on user needs in the last 2 stages. Another potential hot spot might be how to meet user needs and improve the usability of health tools. Conclusions: Our study provides a comprehensive understanding of research hot spots in medical informatics, as well as evolution patterns among them, which was helpful for researchers to grasp research trends and design their studies.

Research Area(s)

  • LDA model, Medical informatics, Mobile phone, Research hotspot, Topic evolution analysis

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