Ramblings: What is Healthcare Informatics in Mandarin?

Something amusing but important (in my humble opinion) happened today and I thought I’ll blog about it so as to share the information I ‘dug’ off  Google.com

My mother-in-law asked my over breakfast today on what is it that I do for a living. Now for the record, I don’t usually have breakfast with my mother-in-law so this topic never really came up – even though I have married her daughter for more than 6 years now.

This was funny to me because;

  • I thought they knew exactly what I did for a living (well I’ll be damn sure to find out everything about the man who will ever marry my daughter 🙂 )
  • and I thought I will be able to explain what I do for a living in Mandarin -with ease  (I’ve been in the healthcare Informatics industry since 2002 and handled the Greater China market from a commercial perspective)

It turns out, I couldn’t really deliver the ‘full message’ and when questioned what is the term in mandarin for Healthcare Informatics, it actually caught me off guard! For the record, I gave the term Healthcare Technology – which isn’t quite right.

After reaching home, I Google for the correct term and it would seem that the generic term used are 医学信息学 or 医疗信息学, however both terms translates to Medical Informatics and this is wrong because healthcare comprises more than medical (there is a difference in between the two terms).

Hence I literally translated the term word by word and Google it (via Google Hong Kong of course) and viola, I got it spot-on, Healthcare Informatics is 医疗保健信息学 in Mandarin. To further validate my point, I even located a Mandarin definition of the term here.

So why this confusion? I think it boils down to the fact that I hold a Dr. title, work in healthcare (from Healthcare provider to Healthcare Technology Research to Healthcare IT solution providers) but am not trained as a medical practitioner, you see the Dr. title can mean either a Doctorate Holder (博士) or a Medical Physician (医生) in Mandarin.

It was a good for me to see my industry from a 3rd party layman point-of-view and for sure, I can now confidently translate the term Healthcare Informatics in Mandarin, although 医疗保健信息学 is quite a mouthful 🙂

Signing off

徐伟翔 博士, 医疗保健信息学专业人员

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