Jim Warren

Jim Warren, Professor of Health Informatics

I am based at the University of Auckland's School of Computer Science on the City (main) campus in downtown Auckland, New Zealand.

My key professional interest is the transformation of healthcare through innovative IT. This includes decision support for healthcare providers, analysis of aggregate health systems data to guide population health strategy and research, and supporting health consumers to do their best in 'co-production' of health outcomes. From a technology perspective, enabling these transformations is largely about applied AI, but very much linked with a holistic information systems perspective and great user interface design; plus there are some topics that are particularly relevant to health IT in practice, such as systems interoperability. I'm passionate about getting talented computing people really interested in the challenges and opportunities of health IT; I also really enjoy working with clinical people to understand and try to improve health delivery challenges. Of late I've been doing a lot with youth mental health such as apps that follow methods based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and positive psychology, including gamified approaches and dialog agents that function as a type of AI wellness guide. As a spin-off of this, I'm interested in deep learning based approaches to language generally. I'm also interested in explainable AI (XAI) as lack of explainability is a major barrier for health applications.

Note that I am part-time with the University. My usual work days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Current projects and supervision

I'm affiliated with the NAO Institute (Natural, Artificial, and Organisation Intelligence) and the Centre of Machine Learning for Social Good. I also collaborate with researchers at the The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) and am involved in a major UK-based programme of research, Digital Youth

Current research:

Coursework and Service

I'm currently programme director for the BSc(Hons) and PGDip for the School of Computer Science, as well as coordinator of honours dissertations and postgraduate diploma (and third-year) research projects. If you currently enrolled in, or thinking to enroll in a Computer Science major in the Bachelor of Science (Honours) or Postgraduate Diploma in Science, or taking COMPSCI 789a/b, COMPSCI 691a/b, COMPSCI 380 or COMPSCI 780, then I'm a good person to talk to. Some useful links:

Note that Dr Marc Vinyals is deputy programme director and coordinator for honours, PGDip and dissertation/project matters. He's the right person to contact at times when I'm away.

I regularly teach the following courses:

Human-Computer Interaction (COMPSCI 345 and SOFTENG 350). For many years I was the primary or supporting lecturer for our HCI courses. However, since going to part-time and with other demands I'm not directly involved in the teaching delivery. Dr Danielle Lottridge is course coordinator. I'm passionate about helping students with IT capability to pick up the skills to make software that is really excellent from the perspective of usability and is thoughtful, and (where appropriate) innovative, in its design. Our HCI courses teach the skills to design and evaluate the visual interface and user experience generally. I regularly supervise projects and dissertations with a strong HCI focus, and you might see me give a guest lecture in COMPSCI 705/SOFTENG 702 Advanced Human-Computer Interaction.

Health Informatics / Digital Health at The University of Auckland. For several years I was programme director for the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences in Health Informatics. The term 'Digital Health' is now more popular - see Postgraduate Study options in Digital Health. I assess some of the Digital Health papers, and you might come across a presentation by me in DIGIHLTH 701: Principles of Digital Health talking about the role of AI.

Past students

These are some of the PhD students who have completed their studies with me since I've moved to Auckland

Some of my more distant past PhD students (from when I worked at University of South Australia):

Professional organisations

Health Informatics New Zealand (HINZ). I was Chair of HINZ for 2008-2010. I was Scientific Program Committee Chair for the HINZ Conference and Exhibition 2006, 2007 and 2008. The conference is an amazingly large event given the size of New Zealand – it's the place to find out what's happening in health IT in New Zealand and gets some great keynote speakers from abroad. See the HINZ conference page.

Australasian Institute of Digital Health (AIDH). AIDH has recently formed by a merger of the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) and Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA). ACHI was (and AIDH now is) Australia and New Zealand's peak professional body for health informatics. I'm a Foundation Fellow of ACHI, and was its Membership Chair from 2005-2010, as well as a member of the ACHI Council 2015-2016. Now I'm a Fellow of the AIDH.

My Career

I took up the Chair in Health Informatics at the University of Auckland in November 2005. I made the move here because the environment provides the opportunity to really make a difference - there are so many advantages here with a world class medical school, excellent computer science department, active local health IT industry and a proactive Ministry of Health! I was based at the Tamaki Campus until 2013, spending most of that time with my office in the School of Population Health, but as the University has turned its strategic focus to development of the City, Grafton and Newmarket campuses I have shifted to the City Campus (which also has been great for the central location, and for furthering links with my Computer Science colleagues!).

I worked for the University of South Australia from 1993 to 2005, where I was involved in the formation of their Advanced Computing Research Centre, of which I was Director for a couple years.

I did my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and PhD in Information Systems at the University of Maryland's UMBC campus. I was awarded my PhD in mid 1992 with a dissertation (which they'd call a 'thesis' in this part of the world) in Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) / Simulation Systems... basically I was looking at interactive decision support technology. I started working with health IT as software development consulting work before completing my PhD, but then leapt into it as a research topic pretty much the day I graduated. Other than a few computer simulation projects that directly related to my thesis, and occasional flirtation with online learning research and pure human-computer interaction, I've consolidated on innovative methods for health information systems as my sole research interest. Upon involvement with SA HealthPlus - a large trial of Coordinated Care in 1997-1999 - I became increasingly focused on chronic condition management. "IT for chronic condition management" is a pretty good brief description of my core research interest, although many aspects of wellness and digital tools, AI and ethics spin out from that central interest.


See my Google Scholar profile.

Contact details

Last updated: J. Warren, 3-Jul-2024.