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    California Pacific Currents 2000

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    Eric Goldman, M.D.: Using the Power of Medical Informatics for Biomedical Research

    The Research Institute was well ahead of the curve when it was wired for Internet access in 1993. That's because Eric Goldman, MD, was among the first medical researchers at the institute to use the power of medical informatics and could envision the potential of the nascent Worldwide Web for biomedical research. Dr. Goldman, director of academic computing for the institute, is an endocrinologist who sees patients with thyroid disease. His interests in medical database design and clinical computing, however, have involved him in clinical research for conditions as varied as melanoma, malignancy in AIDS, and breast and ovarian cancers, as well as the design for an information system for a breast cancer service.

    Dr. Goldman became interested in the potential of computerized databases for medical research in the early 1980s. Since completing a fellowship in Medical Information Science at UCSF in 1984, he has served on various committees related to the deployment of information technology in clinical care and research and has taught medical and graduate students at UCSF.

    Dr. Goldman is a member of the Physician Information Technology Study Group, chaired by Peter Sullivan, MD. This group's purpose, working in conjunction with the Information Technology department, is to plan for and implement information systems of particular importance to the medical center's practicing physicians. These range from already common systems, such as medical transcription, to the very modern: Web-based, remote access to the medical center's clinical information system.

    According to Dr. Goldman, his most important current focus involves working with colleagues at the medical center and the research institute to understand the evolving role of the Internet for clinical purposes and research and to craft strategy for the effective use of this tool as the network expands.

    “Along with many others in the field, I believe that medical computing will increasingly rely on high-speed, global networks such as the Internet,” says Dr. Goldman. “It is increasingly the medium used in the growing fields of telemedicine and teleradiology. The growing number of biomedical databases will allow the basic scientist and the health services researcher the opportunity to explore vast quantities of data in support of their research efforts.”