Do we have enough informaticians?

It is generally agreed that we do not have enough informaticians. National organizations have posited that we need to have at least 10,000 informaticians by 2010. Other countries are investing heavily in such training. In Germany, for example, the number of graduates with degrees in informatics has doubled since 1997. But what are these informaticians supposed to know? Answering this question would go a long way to determining just who should be trained and for what purpose? Should they be able to answer these questions? Or should they be able to answer these? Further, should it be MDs that define the competence requirements or could it be nurses, or librarians? More to the point, why don't informaticians collaborate and share their expertise with individuals of other disciplines? And vice versa. For that matter, can informaticians of different stripes identify a common set of skills or is informatics going to balkanize into isolated sub-discplines? These questions point to the increased centrality of information sciences to the pursuit of clinical care and biomedical research and the resulting push to speciation to meet the varied needs of these biomedical constituencies.

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