Over 100 years ago, Abraham Flexner reviewed the state of U.S. medical education and its impact on the practice of medicine. What he reported about the lack of modern science in medicine caused half of the medical schools in this country to close. Today we are at another Flexnerian moment. Medicine and biomedical science are data- and knowledge-processing enterprises that are largely conducted without any of the modern tools of quantitative analysis or automation.
On July 1, 2015, we inaugurated the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. This new department, built on our ten-year history as the former Center for Biomedical Informatics, will bring quantitative methods and engineering to biomedicine at HMS. It is our mission to ensure that the next 100 years result in the breakthrough treatments and scientific insights we presaged in a New England Journal of Medicine piece entitled "A Glimpse of the Next 100 Years in Medicine."