In pharma, is Medical Informatics a field any technology geek can do?

As readers here know, I’ve written on the blur and confusion regarding the formal specialty of Medical Informatics in the pharma industry e.g., "Why Pharma Fails", "CRO's: We don't need medical informatics here", "We don't need medical informatics here Part 2" and "GSK, Avandia and Medical Informatics: More on Why Pharma Fails." I am also reminded how this problem, complicated by the conflation of IT and information science, cause the industry to suffer at both ends of the pipeline, that is, new drug discovery as well as postmarketing surveillance.

Seen recently in a Pfizer job ad for a Senior Manager, Medical Informatics:

The role of Medical Informatics team is to bring a deep understanding of technology in order to address Medical business needs. The successful candidate will be able to leverage technology insights and experience in order to provide solutions that balance opportunities for innovative ideas that drive top-line growth with a focus on operation efficiencies that drive bottom-line efficiencies/savings.

Ironically, one major research area of Medical Informatics is in terminology development, to help ensure expressive clarity.

I am only going to ask two questions this about that paragraph:

What the heck are they talking about?


Did the writer ever pass a course in basic English composition?

Here are the position requirements:

  • 5-8 years experience in technology related field.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • Proven ability to deliver technology strategy and innovations that support business growth while still assuring operational excellence in support of existing systems and business processes

  • An operating style that is flexible, professional, and driven by individual initiative

Notably missing: biomedical background, professional degree, medical informatics professional training, and any knowledge of information technology in clinical or medical research settings.

Worse, it's likely the person(s) who wrote/approved the above tortured paragraph (a generously mild description) will also be evaluating the incoming applications.

In pharma, Medical Informatics seems to be an area any ol' technology geek (perhaps even semi-literate ones) can not just perform, but can also oversee as Senior Manager.

-- SS