The purpose of this study is to reflect on the evolution of medical informatics as a discipline and research in the field. IMIA is an international organisation dedicated to health and biomedical informatics, with the mission of stimulating and disseminating high-quality research, education, and application. Medical informatics is now one of the most important disciplines for achieving health for people in societies around the world. The most significant factors to promote collaborative research are data interoperability, healthcare process modelling and representation, shared methods to deal with various data privacy regulations, and data stewardship and governance. Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic can be a powerful tool for improving international research and our ability to respond to rapidly evolving emergencies and demands, which are likely to become more common in the future in our interconnected and intertwined world.