Health informatics research in Australia: retrospective analysis using PubMed

Kumara Mendis


Objective To obtain an overview of Australian health informatics (HI) research through a bibliometric analysis using PubMed.
Method Australian HI publications from 1970 to 2005 were downloaded in Medline format using PubMed queries. These were written to a Microsoft Access database using a software application, PubMed Grabber/Analyzer,devel oped by us. Search Query Language and online PubMed queries were used for further analysis.
Results Publications increased from three (1970) to 335 (2005), with the rate increasing since 2002. Medical Journal of Australia (177), Australian Family Physician (66) and Australasian Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (64) are the top three journals publishing HI articles. Coiera EW (21), Metcalfe P (19), Ebert MA (17), Kron T (16) and Westbrook JI (16) were the five most frequent authors. Of the 2350 total publications categorised according to PubMed publication types, there were 231 reviews, 137 clinical or randomised controlled trials, 64 letters, 44 editorials and 12 meta-analyses. From 1990 to 2005, Australian HI publications in PubMed increased 10-fold (34_335), compared with the total world HI publications, which increased from 2777 to 15 353. It also compared favourably with other medical discipline publications: general practice (69_346), cardiology (440_928) and public health (1779_5724).
Discussion Australian HI publications in PubMed increased consistently throughout the period 1970-2005, which is on a par with world trends in HI publications. In Australia, most HI publications are in general medical journals. Lack of consistency in author names and failure to include the country name and even the state are the main obstacles to PubMed bibliometric analysis.


bibliometrics; medical informatics; PubMed

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