HEIN 701: Essential Information Management Skills - Sample

This is a small section of the HEIN 701 web site to provide prospective students with an idea of the content and structure of the course. The course consists of eight modules and a project as indicated below. The only module accessible is Database 1 which is in fact a combination of material from the Database 1 and Database 2 modules. These modules provide a hands on experience with databases using MS Access. If you work through this material you will have built a simple Information System for handling some of the key functions in a small GP practice.

Paper Description

An introduction to computing and information systems concepts. Develops understanding through acquisition of practical skills with applications such as web browsers, spreadsheets and database software. Emphasises searching and evaluating on-line information resources including Medline, the Internet and the Worldwide Web.

Prerequisites: None.

Paper Coordinators

Mr Alec Holt.
Telephone: +64 3 479 5032
Email: aholt@infoscience.otago.ac.nz
Web page Address: http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/infosci/People/Staff/staff.htm?user=aholt

Mr James Irwin.
Telephone: +64 3 479 8198
Email: aholt@infoscience.otago.ac.nz
Web page Address: http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/infosci/People/Staff/staff.htm?user=jirwin

James is the person you should approach with any administrative enquiries about the paper.

Resources and Skills Required


It is assumed that students will have basic Windows Computer Skills including the following:

  • Locating, copying, deleting and moving files
  • Zipping (Compressing) and unzipping files
  • Preparing, editing and printing documents with MS Word
  • Sending and receiving emails, including handling attachments
  • Basic skills in locating material on the Web using a standard web browser.
The Otago University ITS provides some useful tip sheets covering some basic Microsoft applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Click here for details and do scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the full ranges of resources available. This site is primarily designed for students on campus, but you will find much of the material is helpful in any computing environment.

Web Site

All course material can found on this web site. For students without a reliable, reasonably fast internet connection, a CD containing the course material can be supplied upon request.

Do check out the Links page (accessed from the side bar) for other useful material. Some of the links provided may prove very helpful for your project, as well as broadening your understanding of the scope of health informatics.

On-Line Meetings

On-Line Meetings will be held approximately once a fortnight at a time suitable for the lecturers and students. These meetings are to discuss any of the concepts in the course notes that may need clarifying, and generally assist students in their mastery of the material.

Course modules

  • Introduction to Health Informatics
  • Medline and other electronic sources of health information
  • Internet and World Wide Web
  • Spreadsheets, Data manipulation, analysis and visualisation - the spreadsheet
  • Database 1 - Health data collection and storage - an introduction to database principles
  • Database 2 - database design, data entry forms and reports
  • HTML and Web Design
  • Telemedicine
  • Ethics and Security

Copyright Notice

This site is a “coursepack” as defined in the university's copyright agreements with various copyright licensing agencies. The following copyright statement applies:

This coursepack may be used only for the University's educational purposes. It may include extracts of copyright works copied under copyright licences. You may not copy or distribute any part of this coursepack to any other person. Where this coursepack is provided to you in electronic format you may only print from it for your own use. You may not make a further copy for any other purpose. Failure to comply with the terms of this warning may expose you to legal action for copyright infrigement and/or disciplinary action by the University.


The assessment package consists of five assignments, three competency tests and a research project as shown in the table below. In order to pass the course you must acheive a mark of 45% or more for each of the assignments, 50% or more for each of the competency tests and research project and an overall average of 50% or more.

Assignments are due on each of the dates listed below. Competency tests must be completed during the 24 hour period from 5pm of the day listed until 5pm of the following day. If your personal circumstances make taking the test on the listed day impracticable, an alternative day may be arranged with the course co-ordinator.


Assignment 1 Introduction to Health Informatics 8
Assignment 2 Medline 8
Assignment 3 The Internet and WWW 8
Comp Test 1 Spreadsheet - BMI calculations and charts 8
Comp Test 2 Database I - Tables and Queries 10
Comp Test 3 Database II - Small Information System 10 >
Assignment 4 HTML - Web page creation 9
Assignment 5 Ethics and Security 9
Project Research Project 30

Study Support

If you are feeling a little rusty on academic study, do check out the help that is available at the Student Learning Centre .

Web Site

Do check out the Links page (accessed from the side bar) for other useful material. Some of the links provided may prove very helpful for your project, as well as broadening your understanding of the scope of health informatics.

Class Representatives

The class representative system is an avenue for encouraging communication and consultation between staff and students involved in a particular paper or course of study at the University of Otago. It provides students with a vehicle for communicating their views on matters associated with the teaching and delivery of their paper or course of study. It provides staff with the opportunity to communicate information to and gain constructive feedback from students. It contributes to the development of a sense of community within the department and it adds a further dimension to the range of support services that the University of Otago offers its students. The Health Informatics Department fully supports the class representative system.

At this stage, a class representative has yet to be appointed. If you are interested in fulfilling this role, please email James Irwin.


The goals of the project are: 
For all projects 
	1. To demonstrate the use of informatics  
	2. To undertake and display research
and for group projects:
	3. To demonstrate that the group can collaborate to produce a cohesive project outcome

The word count is not critical, but in general we would expect something between 2,000 and 3,000 words, with 3,000 being the absolute upper limit.


Some general topics you may want to consider for your project are:

  • E-health: On-line evaluation and information dissemination
  • Health Informatics: Security issues
  • E-health: Individuals and healthcare professionals' experience of the medical internet
  • E-health: The web-enabled patient
  • Healthcare Informatics: An industry analysis
  • Wireless Healthcare Applications & Technologies: Hand Held PCs
  • Health 2.0 - Current situation and future trends
  • Web 2.0 and health - Current situation and future trends e.g. patients like me http://www.patientslikeme.com/ e.g. http://www.unsw.edu.au/news/pad/articles/2008/jan/Social_network.html

Examples of Completed Projects

Lecturer contact information

Alec Holt
James Irwin