Institute of Medical Information

The Institute of Medical Information (IMI) and Library of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) and Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) has a pivotal position as the national medical library. It conducts research on medical information and health policy, providing information services and decision-making support for national health system reform and medical innovation.

Among its many functions, IMI is the designated National Center of Medical Information Research and Biomedical Information Resources, the National Medical Center of Science and Technology Library (NSTL), the Center for Health Policy and Management of CAMS and PUMC, the Engineering and Technology Center for National Population and Health Scientific Data Sharing Platform, the home of the International Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) Center in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Health and Biomedical Information, the lead institution of the Chinese Board for the WHO Global Health Library, and the Office of Medical Information Management affiliated with the Medical Information Administrative Committee of the Ministry of Health. IMI grew out of the former Medical Information Department of CAMS, which was founded in 1958. It has carried out its institutional mission since the integration of the Medical Information Department and the library of CAMS and PUMC in 1974. In the past decades, IMI has played an important role in supporting national health system reform and medical scientific innovation by conducting research in the fields of medical informatics, medical competitive intelligence analysis, health policy and management, and health information systems. IMI has participated in key health-related national plans, including medical science and technology development programs, national science and technology strategies, and “Healthy China 2020”. “Healthy China 2020” is a national strategy aims at fully improving Chinese health by 2020.

To provide effective and efficient information services, IMI has developed medical information systems serving medical researchers, health professionals, and health policy makers. These include the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, a Chinese biomedical literature service system called SinoMed, a population and health data sharing system, a consumer health information service, and a system that supports health policy and decision-making.

IMI also hosts the editorial offices of medical journals including the Journal of Medical Informatics, the Chinese Journal of Health Policy, the Journal of Medical Research, the China Medical Herald, and China Modern Doctor.

The library grew out of the former PUMC Library founded in 1917. It is acknowledged as China’s one of most historic medical library and has the country’s largest collection of medical literature. It was designated the First National Medical Library by the State Council in 1957. The library has served as the Ministry of Health’s National Center for the Sharing of Medical Literature and Resources since 1990. It has been WHO’s depository library in China since 1990. Its holdings comprise more than 2.75 million medical books, journals, and other forms of medical information, including approximately 6,900 foreign journals, 1,400 Chinese journals, 84 databases, 10,000 postgraduate theses, 1,000 ancient books dating back to 1335 on traditional Chinese medicine, 1,000 monographs on foreign medical history, and 20,000 WHO publications. The library has taken advantage of digital information technology to improve its service and scope, providing user-centered and subject-oriented information services to support medical innovation and decision-making.
The Center for Health Policy and Management, an independent research institution affiliated with IMI, conducts research related to health policy and management. It has focused on key issues in China’s health reform initiative, including health policy analysis and evaluation, health systems, global health, health information management, health decision-making support systems, primary healthcare, healthcare for mothers and children, and health economics. It has built a system for supporting health policy analysis and decision-making, providing government and related agencies with evidence and advice necessary for government policy-making.

It has also developed decision-making support systems including a new national rural cooperative medical information platform, a national population and health policy and regulation evaluation platform, and a medical science and technology decision-making support system. The center also founded and is home to the widely recognized journal, Chinese Journal of Health Policy. The center has recently become an important part of China’s health policy research scene and plays a significant role in supporting governmental decision making related to healthcare.