Sunday, August 27, 2006

MIE2006 Opening Ceremony

It is now 6:30pm on Sunday, and I am have just been at the Opening Ceremony of MIE2006, the 20th International Congress of the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) in Maastricht. The opening speaker is George Mihalas, EFMI President, from Romania. He began by talking about the theme of the event, 'Ubiquity'.

He thanked the chairs of the Organising and Scientific Programme Committees (SPC), Johan van der Lei and Reinhold Haux respectively.

A new Dutch healthcare insurance act has been introduced earlier this year, as was explained by a Dutch government representative. In his view, the keyword is synergy, especially between different programmes of the EU and member state programmes in respect of developing health, especially in terms of public health. Investment in R&D and innovation are supposed to increase in all EU member countries according to the Lisbon agenda. (Graham notes that although there is plenty of synergy, there is not much subsidiarity – an in-joke)

A wireless network is available in the registration area, but it does not seem to extend very far; so reports may be few and far between; not much 'live' blogging.

Reinhold Haux, SPC Chair, reported about 300 submissions, which resulted in approx. 140 oral presentations, as well as posters, scientific demonstrations, and other forms of activity.

The opening keynote speaker is Erich Reinhardt, President and CEO of Siemens Medical Solutions, talking about 'Challenges in healthcare from aging societies can best be mastered leveraging healthcare IT'. He said that 3% of GDP should be invested in R&D to achieve Europe being the leading area in knowledge-based activities; the speaker says that there is a need to invest much in healthcare knowledge development. One of the global megatrends, the aging population in most countries of th world, has many implications for healthcare expenditure. What can be done to\ improve quality and efficiency of care while reducing costs? - if there are answers, he says integrated IT systems will play a key role, and in im\proving workflow. He talked about the 'first dual source CT scanner', which offers not only dual means to help provide the image, but also dual (and potentially different) energies, which can help to differentiate different tissues.

In the future IT and molecular medicine (genomics, proteomics, etc) will enable integration and clinical use of data derived from these to derive therapies and care methods, as well as new modes of prevention and early detection and well as diagnosis and therapy.

I did find that there was a bit too much selling of Siemens and its products in many parts of the talk.

More tomorrow.

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