Saturday, July 28, 2007



Introductory note from CHILD2015 co-moderator (Neil PW):

Please find below a summary/extracts from our recent discussion on the
subject of ‘Internet access: is the expense justifiable?’. A formatted
version is publicly available on the Resources section of the HIFA2015 web

The discussion was held simultaneously on our two ‘sister’ groups:
HIFA2015 and CHILD2015, between 4th and 10th July 2007. There were twenty
four messages: eight from USA, seven from UK, three from India and one
each from Gambia, Colombo, Kenya, Canada, Uganda and South Africa. Names
of the 21 contributors are listed below.

As with all CHILD2015 Summaries, this is a ‘living summary’ that will be
regularly updated. Further contributions on this topic are welcome -
please send to

Our thanks to CHILD2015 volunteer Zaynab Lambat for preparing this summary
(CHILD2015 profile: Zaynab Lambat is a pharmacist by profession, and has
worked extensively in Africa, and as a Trainer and Consultant in Holland.
Her main interest is promoting health in developing countries. She is
currently based at the University of Swansea, UK, where she is working on
learning modules for International Health. feroz.gaibie AT

This discussion was prompted by a message from Stephen Allen, a CHILD2015
co-moderator and adviser for the CHILD2015 email discussion group. He had
just attended a workshop called ‘Wales for Africa’ in Cardiff, Wales (UK).

The workshop emphasised the importance of internet access for African
partners. It was proposed that this was essential for good communication
between the partners and also for access to healthcare information.

However, a participant from Africa emphasised the many difficulties and
cost of establishing and maintaining internet access. His view was that
internet access was a luxury that could not be justified where health
institutions were short of essential drugs, equipment and staff.

Stephen Allen asked: "How can the right balance be struck between, on the
one hand, allocating scarce resources to ensuring adequate supplies of
drugs, staff etc. and, on the other, allocating resources to the
information and training required to ensure that what is available is put
to best use? Is the internet a crucial element in this - so that we should
advocate that all health institutions of a certain size must have internet

A member summed up the challenges as follows: "For most of us in
technologically advanced countries, purchasing Internet connectivity is a
no-brainer. We capitalize on generations of technological, civic, and
economic achievements and rarely think about the giants whose shoulders we
stand upon to enjoy round-the-clock power, reliable companies, trustworthy
payment methods, more-or-less predictable legal environments, and armies
of trained technicians who set up and maintain our networks. But our
colleagues in developing countries have a long way to go before they can
spend an insignificant portion of their organization's budget to have
ample, reliable Internet connections.

Even where internet is accessible, the content may be of limited value:
"At least in some countries language is a barrier. English is the language
of science and medicine but it is not managed proficiently by our
professionals and students."

Another member commented: "The internet has changed how we work in
development and public health. We have a number of internet-based coaching
programs that allow us to coach participants to improve how they work and
provide services in developing countries. We have found out that if people
are motivated and get valuable information and support, they do not mind
walking to the nearest cybercafй to visit our website, or get our emails
with the program materials and to send us their assignments once a day. We
also use skype to chat or talk with program participants and our default
rate is very low, and not due to the internet, but because they got busy
at work or had some other personal problem and they defer their enrollment
to the next period. I believe the internet is great and changing the way
we provide assistance to health workers in developing countries. They
learn to trust themselves and implement changes in their own terms and
according to their
strengths and talents! I think that with imagination, innovation and
creativity, we can take advantage of the connectivity the internet offers,
and accelerate reaching the MDGs."

An example of the indispensability of the internet was given by another
member: "internet access is so important: In 1998, a World Survey was
initiated, using a secure Oracle database and submission of anonymous data
via the internet....The survey has now become the World Rb Registry, with
prospective data... Internet access allows real-time consultation between
medics in resource-rich and resource-limited countries...."

One member commented: "The answer must come from those who are using or
trying to use the internet."

Another: "There is an important difference between researchers and
specialists who cannot thrive without broadband and the average health
professional in poor countries - not every healthworker needs - or has
time - to trawl the web for appropriate medical information....How
wasteful of human resources if every practitioner, every clinician (North
or South) had to check the Web to keep up with best practice and most
effective and efficient therapies. Should it not be the responsibility of
the country's or region's central health authority or medical school -
and/or of the WHO national or regional office - to distribute such
information - centrally gathered and synthesized from Internet or other
current sources - to all health workers for whom it is relevant?" The
author gave examples of the Zimbabwe quarterly digest CHIZ - Current
Health Information Zimbabwe and the CME Uganda newsletter that is
distributed by email.

Another CHILD2015 member commented that internet connectivity is the most
cost-effective source of knowledge for some situations. Not every facility
could have it but tertiary centres should not go without it. The amount of
money need to buy every new edition of a text book will certainly be more
than that needed to maintain an internet line. Patients in developing
countries need the best care with the right skills and knowledge just like
anywhere in the world.


"Once wireless internet access becomes available (thus obviating the need
for land lines), I am hopeful that more medical institutions world-wide
will gain access to this valuable resource."

"Open access principles where applicable should be applied."

"While many individuals do not have access to the internet, most training
facilities do. By making paper-based self-help learning courses available
on free websites, training facilities can access the material and then
print their own education manuals for local use. This is an easy, cheap
and effective way of enabling local, regional or national healthcare
authorities to get a wide range of appropriate learning material to all
professional health care workers in their service. For the past 12 years
we have used this method of empowering groups to very successfully manage
their own continuing education and professional growth without the need of
formal trainers and online internet access.

"Are there other, better, less expensive ways to get information into
people's hands?... If computers are to be used, what kinds of information
can we deliver without Internet bandwidth? What kinds of information can
ONLY be delivered via the Internet? These are worthwhile distinctions to
make as we construct information dissemination strategies that meet the
needs of the varied practitioners in the field. In March I visited the
medical school in Liberia. A student there related how he had parked his
car next to a hotel that had wireless Internet. He "poached" some
bandwidth and downloaded a physiology textbook over the course of a couple
hours. He then copied this textbook to a flash drive and shared it with
his classmates. After a couple of months, everyone in his (small) class
had read or copied the book from the flash drive. We can capitalize on
these kinds of innovative knowledge sharing activites."

"Mobile phones may be a more useful medium."

"I think it's important that we continue to look for more cost effective
ways to deliver knowledge... The eGranary Digital Library is one (see but there are others (like simple CD-ROMs and
flash drives.)"

"Freedom Toasters are conveniently located, self-contained,
computer-based, 'Bring 'n Burn' facilities. Like vending machines,
preloaded to dispense confectionery, Freedom Toasters are preloaded to
dispense free digital products, including software, photography, music and
literature. The Freedom Toaster project began as a means of overcoming the
difficulty in obtaining Linux and Open Source software due to the
restrictive telecommunications environment in South Africa." (Source of
preceding text: These "kiosks" can
substantially bring down the costs of connectivity if (a) they can then be
combined with some kind of delay tolerant networking systems to join with
each other (network of kiosks, the wider the better and we totally bypass
the conventional internet connectivity at no cost beyond the cost of one
time set up), and (b) key personnel in hospitals and small communities be
taught how to do wireless networking in their own homes and communities."

Patricia Abbott is the Co-Director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre
for Nursing Knowledge, Information Management and Sharing at the Johns
Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, USA. She is also a member of the
Board of Directors for the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Medical
Informatics Association (JAMIA). Patricia is a Fellow of the American
College of Medical Informatics and the American Academy of Nursing. Dr
Abbott’s primary area of research is in connectionist machine learning
techniques/data mining. Additionally, Dr. Abbott serves as the
Secretariat for the Global Alliance of Nurses and Midwives Communities of
Practice effort; a WHO initiative to address the crisis in the global
health workforce. pabbott2 AT

Stephen Allen is a co-moderator and adviser for the CHILD2015 email
discussion group. He is a Reader in Paediatrics and Honorary Consultant
Paediatrician at the School of Medicine, Swansea University, UK. He is the
Overseas Director for Africa for the David Baum International Foundation,
and a committee member of the International Child Health Group, in
association with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, UK. He
has 4 years experience in Papua New Guinea and 6 years with the Medical
Research Council, The Gambia, involved in training, research and clinical
paediatrics. He has developed eLearning in international health in
partnership with colleagues at the University College Hospital, Ibadan,
Nigeria (see s.j.allen AT

Ike Anya is a lecturer in public health at University College London.
ike.anya AT

Arindam Basu is a Consultant in Ear Nose and Throat Diseases and
Epidemiologist, at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Medical Center in Kolkata, India.
He is also currently working as the Associate Director of the Fogarty
International Training Program of the University of California at
Berkeley. He is keenly interested in evidence based medicine,
meta-analysis and systematic reviews. He works as an author of the
Clinical Evidence topic, "Earache in air travelers" for the secondary
evidence journal, "Clinical Evidence". His current area of interest is to
create a web service in Ruby on Rails to enable healthcare researchers to
quickly collect and appraise best evidence. He has been a member of the
evidence based health discussion group since 1996. arin.basu AT

Elvira Beracochea is a medical doctor and President and CEO of MIDEGO,
Inc, based in Fairfax, USA. MIDEGO is a global health care consulting firm
whose mission is to help partners to reach the Millennium Development
Goals. MIDEGO offers health care management consulting, capacity building
and coaching services for health professionals and managers that want to
achieve outstanding performance consistently and efficiently. elvira AT

Anuradha Bose is a paediatrician working in the departments of Community
Health and Child Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore. She has
interests in Infectious Diseases and in Injury Prevention. The Department
of Community Health is primarily committed to demonstrating the role of a
medical college towards achieving health for all in Vellore district
through a participatory approach that empowers the people. Her interest is
in issues related to child survival in India. Anu's department has a
varied teaching programme, including teaching courses on International
Health. abose AT

Daisy Dharmaraj is a medical doctor specialised in Public Health, from
Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. She heads the AIDS desk of the
National Lutheran Health and medical board and TEST (Techno economic
studies and training) foundation in India. Both organisations are involved
in Primary Healthcare, health related action research and advocacy, and
gender issues. Presently her focus is on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and
support especially in the rural areas, and her primary concern is to make
health care accessible to daisy.dharmaraj AT

Matthew Ellis is a consultant paediatrician at Southmead Hospital,
Bristol, UK. He is also a Senior Clinical Lecturer Child Health, Centre
for Child and Adolescent Health, Bristol University. His research
interests include the public health of birth asphyxia in low income
countries and the epidemiology of neurodevelopmental disorders of
childhood. He is course director of the International Health BSc for
medical students at Bristol University and convenor of the International
Child Health Group of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child
Health.m.ellis AT

Cynthia Flynn is Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University,
USA, and President-elect of the American Association of Birth Centers. She
is interested in training midwives throughout the world. FlynnCNM AT

Michael Gibbs is a publisher of clinical textbooks and open-access
journals. Sherborne Gibbs Ltd (Birmingham, UK) publishes the following
titles: Cardiovascular Journal of Africa; British Journal of Cardiology;
British Journal of Primary Care Nursing; The British Journal of Diabetes &
Vascular Disease; Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research; Journal of the
Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System; and Primary Care Respiratory
Journal. mgibbs AT

Abubacarr Jagne is a junior doctor at the Royal Victoria Teaching
Hospital, Banjul, The Gambia. abubacarrjagne AT

Saroj Jayasinghe is Consultant Physician at the National Hospital in
Colombo and Associate Professor at the Dept of Clinical Medicine at the
University of Colombo. He is also Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma
in Health Development and was the first Director of the Medical Education
Development and Research Centre. His current research focuses on the areas
of poverty, health determinants and health policy. sarojoffice AT

Jorge Maldonado is a senior physician, former Full Professor of Medicine
at the Mayo Clinic, from Colombia with an interest in health information.
He works on and and websites,
which deliver health information to health professionals and the general
public in alliance with Colombia's National Academy of Medicine and
National Institute of Health. jorgem AT

Clifford Missen is director of the WiderNet Project, a non-profit
organization at the University of Iowa, USA, that works to improve digital
communications in developing countries. Cliff has over 20 years
professional experience in computers, networking, multimedia design, and
applications development. He combines this with his long-term interest in
international development. The eGranary Digital Library is a program of
the WiderNet Project, and provides an 'Internet in a Box' to the
unconnected majority, by storing huge amounts of information on hard
drives on internal networks. It contains books, websites, journals, movies
and audio files from hundreds of contributing authors and
publishers who freely contribute to help bridge the digital divide.
missenc AT

Paul Mwanzilo is the Librarian of the Faculty of Health Sciences Library,
Egerton University, Kenya. He holds a diploma in Information and has over
20 years in academic library work. mwanzilo AT

Brian Ostrow works with the Office of International Surgery, University of
Toronto, Canada. His interests include the Ptolemy Project which provides surgeons in the developing
world with online access to the University of Toronto library; and Surgery
in Africa which publishes reviews on
the topic. brian AT

Helga Patrikios is an independent consultant based in Newbury, UK. She is
currently working on the history of leprosy. She recently retired as
medical librarian of the University of Zimbabwe. helgoid AT

Lenny Rhine is University Librarian Emeritus at the University of Florida,
USA. His interests include: delivery of health information in developing
and transitional countries; electronic health information; Internet
resources; and training for identifying, filtering and using Internet
resources. rhinel AT

Paget Stanfield is a retired paediatrician with an interest in the
availability of learning materials and textbooks for medical students and
postgraduates in developing countries. He has a long experience in Africa,
particularly with the Makerere University, Uganda, and AMREF. Paget is
editor of the textbook, Diseases of Children in the Tropics.
welcome.stanfield AT

Abby White is co-founder and coordinator of Daisy's Eye Cancer Fund, an
Oxford (UK) and Toronto (Canada) based charity that takes a global
approach to the needs of children affected by retinoblastoma, an
aggressive but highy treatable childhood eye cancer, which kills over
7,000 youngsters each year. Abby is based in Oxford, UK. abby AT

Dave Woods is emeritus professor in neonatal medicine at the School of
Child and Adolescent Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is
Chairman of the Perinatal Education Trust and Eduhealthcare, both
not-for-profit non-government organisations that develop appropriate
self-help distance learning material for doctors and nurses who care for
pregnant women and their children in under-resourced communities. He has
30 years experience as a clinical neonatologist, with particular interests
in perinatal care and training of health professionals. He is currently
developing paper-based continuing learning material in maternal care,
newborn care, childhealth, and care of adults and children with HIV/AIDS.
He is also participating in the design and development of wind-up
appropriate health technology for poor countries.
pepcourse AT

How European Consumers Use the Internet for Health Information

In Europe, where strict regulations currently govern the communication
of information about prescription medicines and treatment
alternatives, the primary pharmaceutical marketing focus to date has
been directed at the people who write the prescriptions: the
physicians. Now for the first time, Manhattan Research reveals
European consumers' attitudes and preferences for finding health and
pharmaceutical information with its new study, Cybercitizen(r) Health

Which pharmaceutical websites are European consumers visiting for
information to help make critical healthcare decisions for themselves
and their families? The study reveals the leading health and
pharmaceutical websites based on the number of visiting European
consumers, while detailing consumer satisfaction with site content,
applications, tools, and features.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Sexual Health SIM project in Second Life

I know very little about Second Life or other Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) - I have enough trouble finding time for real life - but was recently sent an invitation to review information about the new Sexual Health SIM project in Second Life, supported by the University of Plymouth.

see for the video & comments. Supporting papers etc are at:

I suspect this sort of approach has some value in reaching the intended target audience in this context & wonder how many more of these sorts of approaches we willbe seeing over the next few years.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

RCN e-health survey

The Royal College of Nursing has today published the results of it's annual e-health survey conducted by Medix. which used an online questionnaire to obtain the attitudes and experiences of 2,600 members towards IT and their perceptions of the new electronic patient record.

The results of the 2007 survey show that:

* Two thirds of nurses (66%) welcome the introduction of an electronic patient record. This figure is higher (76%) in nurses who have experience of using records in this format.

* 58% of nurses do not believe or do not know that the NHS can deliver an electronic record in the foreseeable future.

* 66% say they have not been consulted about the record's development

* 55% of nurses say they have not received any IT training within working time in the last six months

* And 45% say they share a computer with five or more people while 16% share a machine with more than 20 people.

The perceived effect of the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) on clinical care continues a downward trend with now only 42% of respondents believing it will improve clinical care compared to 70% in 2004.

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Sorry the Medical Info and Patient’s Details not for Yellow Pages

Still searching and working on the medical Privacy system . And patients Privacy , may be that developer knows more than i do to lunch that kind of project , and with perfect system to provide a privacy protection and consider the public safety .

I reported the Health Minister at that country , and no response yet , another Individual action taken by another developer , who realize the dangerous satiation of this event … so he cracks the site and dysfunction it….

some people are really excited to help , but take Individual Moves that cause problems may be more than that problem they need to solve…. as an example of an Arabic identity “ so to get excited , and easy to forget the cause !! “ ..

Current Situation :

- The nonspecialist’s moves and people who are not aware of those kind of situations ….. seeing it as good effort , project for humanity ..etc and admire the developer move.

  • The Developer , Don’t know , Realize , search or even ask before he lunched his project.

..didn’t give the project sometime to study , he is just seeing the problem as making the people helping each other ( Chaos never provides help ) .

  • He is seeing the usability of the project not the feature of the project , and the Technical issues , and considers the Organs donations ( or Trading ) as some kind of Fantasy … ( even there is a some people already used the site for that ).

  • The Health Ministry at the Targeted Country shows no response Yet… my be it’ll take some time before they response or take a real action …

  • Medical standards and Protection of those Medical Standards , for situations like this still amature … but soon or later we need to developed a Medical Standards for e-Medical Info Protection .

-The developers asking me why i made that move against his move in public , well , first your project consider the people life and affect the public safety , so this is not matter of personal suggestion or personal thought , or personal discussion …. it’s Something crosses the red line of all medical standards that’s i should save as a Doctor .. your mistake doesn’t considered as Crime “ even it’s indirect one “ but still considered as Crime ….

-another one at the developer's blog , seeing the patient's data belong to them and they have the right to publicize it and publish it where they want , as example some adds in newspapers , " I need a Kidney , for (......) , any one for donation or selling we buy " , interesting issue , especially when the official desks could never control this public medical adds in the future ..

- a doctor from another Arabic country , working at the Health Ministry , contact me , telling me , "ignoring the project that's could kill it , we don't need people excitement and emotions to convert the serious issues to public adds at news paper , we could be doing th solid ground Historical bureaucracy as you called us , or involve those kind of projects which lunched by people unaware of medical issues . "

Questions :

-Is this an Isolated Situation ? Yes and No.

….quite Yes cause it’s regarding the most common Arabic use and mode of thinking “applicate without spending sometime to study … “

…..No , cause we need to set medical standards for medical info protection , Freedom of Speech never considered as using the Patient’s Data in yellow pages ….

-Medical Data !!? :

Medical Data , Patient’s Details , Public Safety , and Medical Studies Data, is quite sensitive fields , and Unexperienced , people never help as soon they are from the common solid medical background …

  • some email asking me about the Mafia , and how it could be involved in those kind of projects ?!

Simple answer : unofficial projects , provided from Individual moves , away from the official support and supervision ., will provide open Portal , or Open Market for the Unofficial Organizations or Individuals , may be those could be Map. Or even Doctors ( who are involved in the underground activities ) …

simple point :

Advertising = advertising for any thing , requests , offers …… = Open Market => Money , Money as the most curse for the humanity for ages => will provide the reason/ Motivation , for the people who will used the advantage of the Situation …(what ever who are those people) ,…..


That’s why : the Medical Data is not for the Yellow Pages

resources :

The developer site.arabic

Dr.Hamza Emadeen Mousa

Sunday, July 22, 2007

FreeOnline Arabic Organs Trade system - Privacy Protection and Public Safety

10 days ago , a Friend sent me this site saying it’s the first Arabic application using Rubyonrails , so i added it to my todo list to see it later when i get some time , thinking of it as an armature work and training project as all other Arabic projects , a week ago this friend send me back

”strange you are a doctor , you should be interested “ ,

“ Interested ! About what exactly? “ ,

“ the site for blood donation “

“WHAT ? “

“Online Blood Donation “ …

here come to the monument , i stopped everything i was doing ( Closed all Browser window , Stop Coding , and close my Favorite Music ) and back to this miracle ( the site ) , Miracle to add this kind of project to become a training armature project !!!!!..

I Opened the site : to get simple interface design , and Fascinating Blood Donation Requests …. from the individuals ( Patients and Patient’s Relatives ) who are seeking for blood or people who are donating ….. some people add they want to donate their blood , ( good effort and Generous of Them !!!)…

But here comes the real example of involving the people who are unaware of Medical privacy , Privacy protection and Public safety in those kind of projects … as example Interesting Requests and submission you’ll get in the requests list :

Feel free to See all the Patient's Data online .with no restrictions or privacy by the patients and patient's relatives themselves


The common Arabic Misuse : The Project became something else

  • People ( Patient’s Relatives ) asking of Organs ( Kidneys ) and people who can donate it !!!

  • People saying They want to donate their one of their kidneys … Including Their own Cell phone Numbers and contact details .( My Question is : it’s selling Or donating “ Hard to tell the difference here )


Fascinating , I believe this site for blood donation ( i don’t know How ,but seems some people interested ) AND the hard reality it becomes something about Organs transplantation and Donation On line , ( i don’t wanna to say Trade ).kidney2.jpg


The Law is the Law and Now They have to Go : (Hot Fuzz –2007 movie , quote ‘ Simon Pegg ‘ ) :

The Medical Law included the Privacy Protection for the Patient safety and for the Patient sake …. here i see this site as example with developer doesn’t realize the Privacy Protection as one of the major items of the Medical Practice and Medical Info these day , surly he doesn’t expect it becomes that Far to be that danger for the public safety …

The Patients :

The Patient’s Relatives, are willing to do anything and crossing the red lines starting with paying Money , for what they believe it’s for the patient sake , and that’s why the official Medical systems made for , to Organize and arrange those kind of operation and events.

Awareness of the Privacy Protection , surely will be considered for the public safety , why : using unofficial systems that’s could include Unofficial people , unofficial methods to get what they want .. ( Imagine may be the Organized Crime )

Patient , Patient’s Relatives : Mostly don’t consider seeing the larger View as the System dose … what if the Patients can Do Official adds in the Newspaper asking for Kidneys , Livers , Hearts ??? I believe that’s The real Definition of “ Chaos “…

The Developer :

1-Unaware of the Medical Law , Privacy Control and Public Safety

2-Choose this Dangerous Project to applicate what he Just Learn ,

3-Didn’t read / know / Search about those types of medical projects , all what he knows ( Blood Types )

4-He provides a tool for Patients welling to do anything include paying for what they need to help them crossing the Official Desks , Helping them to not use the official Channels and Publishing / Publicize they Needs On line , Crossing the Official Channels is the real danger .. helping them in that silly way , doesn't solve the problems but it'll made the problem more complicated ..

5-helping the people they need Money or thinking their body as a tool of trade ( kidneys as example )to Contact with those Disparate patients … ( Open Market )

7-This developer , cross the Official Channels himself , Awareness or Complete Ignorance ( no Much Difference ) but this Kind of Project should be belong to the Official Channels and Under the medical law with restricted medical supervision …

Official Channels :

1-No Response yet .

2-The response should be follow by a Privacy/Public protection Move .

3-Respected and Restricted Law for the Medical project and unofficial Channels .

Conclusion :

Law : No Law Yet for Quite an On line events / projects / individual Moves like this !!!( International or Locals )

Developer Awareness : regrading what happened in this Project and how dangerous it’s for the public safety , seems the developers should read more about the points Considered in medical informatics projects , Privacy protection , and medical laws .

Official Desks /Channels and Control :If Those kind stuff controlled Or Mistreated It’ll Transfer it to an Open Market of Under Ground Medical activities and events .. which it’s Hard to be controlled , so Open Market , Organs Trade , and Underground medical activities Could be Controlled by the Mafia ( Why Not!!! ) so it could become WWW , World Wild Web not World Wide Web .

Dr-Hamza E.e Mousa

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First global carnival of health informatics

The First global carnival of health informatics was posted on July 22, 2007. This blog carnival brings together recent blog posts on health informatics (including nursing, biomedical, and medical informatics) from around the world - and maybe some posts about issues tangential to health informatics and its areas of activity.

Feel free to take a look at some of the interesting recent posts which have been highlighted & submit your own content for the next carnival which is intended to be posted monthly.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Draft Recommnedation on e-health

The ICT for Health Unit of Directorate-General Information Society andMedia is in the process of drafting a Recommendation which outlines aset of recommended guidelines for good practice on eHealthinteroperability. This draft Recommendation is submitted for informalpublic consultation.The overarching notion is of a European service space in which, andthrough which, European citizens and their designated healthprofessionals can access the necessary health services.The Recommendation is addressed to all the EU Member States, but italso has relevance for the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, andfor the appropriate industries and stakeholder associations that workin the eHealth field.Read more...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dr Foster & the Information Centre

Following the report in February from the National Audit Office about the deal between the NHS Information Centre and Dr Foster the public accounts committee of MPs has now weighed in with further criticism of the way the deal was done and the valuation placed upon it which put lots of money (£7.6 million) into the pockets of the shareholders of Dr Foster.

The EHI report DH blasted for 'back room deal' with Dr Foster carries further comment and criticism.

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Blogging from Baltimore this week

Peter Murray and Scott Erdley are at SINI2007 this week, the 17th Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Nursing. The blog can be found at:

Today we had what we think is a world first for a health/nursing informatics blog - sending a blog post direct to the blog from mobile phone - specifically iPhone. This is not sent by email, but direct from the web browser interface of the iPhone.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Creative Commons licencing in UK public sector

Eduserv have today announced study about the Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations.

The use of Creative Commons licences allow public sector bodies such as libraries and museums to enable others to use their images and other resources on a not for profit basis.

As Eduserve say "Digital resources produced by publicly funded organisations are a valuable asset to the research and education community. Many people in the sector believe that access to and use of these digital resources could be better and that the wider use of open content licences would help to improve the situation."

Unlike the default “all rights reserved” copyright status, Creative Common’s “some rights reserved” approach enables organisations and individuals to use, share and copy texts, images and other materials easily and legally if they follow certain simple guidelines. The study will investigate how open licences, including those created by Creative Commons (CC), are used by cultural heritage organisations.

I would welcome the potential of these developments and hope that it is an initial example of moves to make the data and resources paid for by taxpayers money more widely available.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

EMERGE conference

For the last couple of days I’ve been in Manchester/Salford attending the EMERGE conference.

On Monday evening approx 100 individuals from all over the country gathered at the Golden Tulip Hotel, next to Old Trafford football ground, for initial drinks and dinner. Once I’d sorted out the problems with my accommodation booking. I met various colleagues I’d bumped into before and several new ones. Meeting new people was encouraged by an activity after dinner which required people to move tables and speak to people from projects they didn’t know anything about – this and drinks in the bar was useful to find out about the range of people and ideas represented at the conference.

Tuesday morning started with a coach from the hotel to the Lowry Centre where the conference was being held – this was only a few hundred yards by the pedestrian route but a couple of miles by road! The venue was impressive and welcoming.

Delegates were welcomed by George Roberts who is the director of the EMERGE project, who gave an overview of progress so far. He emphasised the importance of the UIDM model in forthcoming bids, and the use of appreciative enquiry in the project progress and evaluation.

He suggested that the various communities within EMERGE – adopt a team member. Josie Fraser then coordinated a community showcase when all the various projects had a couple of minutes to briefly describe their proposals, recruit collaborators and publicise their round tables and other activities for later in the day. The list of these showed the widespread range of activity ranging from improving academic writing through social scaffolding through learning design to Second Life, World of Warcraft and other MUVEs. A couple of the showcase projects which were particularly significant for the Mobile T’s I was representing included:

Bradford – use of audio in student feedback, self assessment and reflection.

Leeds – medical education + education + drama – personal & professional identity outside VLEs eg myspace & Facebook with digital storytelling into portfolios

Bloomsbury Group – Appropriate technologies for collaborative learning.

Salford – multi author blogging for data generation for later use in learning resources

New HEI in Suffolk (to be Uni in a few weeks) using web 2.0 & VLE to support nurses recording their learning (later conversations about podcasting skills videos)

After the initial showcase a welcome cup of coffee gave opportunities for further networking, and to follow up some of the things mentioned so far.

After coffee 7 simultaneous “round tables!” were available (along with UIDM workshops & an unconference, which I didn’t manage to get to). The first I attended was with the Bradford team discussing a range of aspects of the use of audio to support learning. A lot of this work related to the ALPS project & it was suggested the Leeds Met e admin project may also be relevant. There was lots of discussion about thow the technologies can be used to change the top down teacher led model of education to one which empowers students and recognises that they are experts & how their self assessment and reflection can be enabled. There seemed to be lots of good opportunities for collaboration between a range of different communities with this project.

After a good lunch and more networking, I attended another round table session led by the Bloomsbury consortium (SOAS, RVC, Institute of Education & others). About Appropriate and Practical Technology (APT) which aims to look at real world issues around assessing needs, and selecting appropriate technologies (including paper & pen) for particular learning needs (links to Transliteracy – a new term to me which seemed to be appropriate). This table seemed to the people who were grounded in the real world rather than those who were off playing with Second Life and similar wizzy technologies. Again their seemed to be good opportunities for collaboration & they proposed to gather examples of good (and bad) practice from different institutions and disciplines to prevent re-inventing the wheel and share practical real world solutions to learning needs.

The day closed with a short plenary about the evaluation of the project by Rhonda and some closing remarks by George who as the project director tried to give a helicopter view of the disparate work going on & suggesting the deadline for bid submissions would be extended to October which would affect the timing of the (possibly virtual) town meeting and a project development (not bid writing) day and a platform user group day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Medical/Scientific Softwares at Linux repositories

n My Hypernation mode i was testing and trying some new linux distro editions , such as Linux Mint , Ubuntu , DreamLinux , Elive , Pclinux 2007 , Samlinux and finally Mandriva Linux Spring 2007…*

Linux as Free Open Source Operating System , provides new variations in options and choices of the daily common use software with free alternatives ones , such as Open Office (writer , spreadsheet , Presentation , drawing , base ) as an Alternative for Ms.Office ( word , excel , power point ,and access ) ……..But The real disadvantage of using Linux was : ( for normal users ) is how to install software!! , there was no default standard install system for the softwares , each software with special Instruction file to configure and install it , sometimes the instructions need an advanced user to understand and do it , and some software need an Extra Library to be installed …

These day there is many Solutions for Installing software on linux , such as Autopackage* and Online Packages through Package Managers , and Complete Guides to install Software on many linux Distro , even Windows Softwares through Windows Emulator as Wine …


Easy to install the software you need through the Package Manager , which is the common feature of known and usable Linux Operating systems …Package Manager as Synaptic Package Manager simple and easy to use , Search or Browse For the software you seek , then select it and click apply , in mins/secs ( according to your internet connection and the Software/s You choose ) you’ll be ready to use this software …


Using the Debian Based Linux ( eLive , LinuxMint , DreamLinux , Ubuntu ) , i enjoyed the amount of software i installed and tried from the Debian repositories , but something i missed , The Medical Software like EMRs , Image Analysis tools ,…….etc
there is a Scientific and Mathematics categories at Debian Packages -link- , and with some Biological softwares , but huge lack of Medical software …..


in the first lost archive of i wrote about debian-med and some medical softwares which run on linux which suggest some good progress in Medical-Linux software and usability , but using the Linux repositories makes me wonder why in linux world we always have defect in medical software and attention to spread and publish these software .?!!!!

The message is ” We need to see Varation of medical software at Linux repositories , and Multi format Linux software Packages ” Deb , RPM , TGZ …” or Package the Software in Autopackage format ….

Conclusion :
regrading to the search and use of Linux we do and the suffring for lack of alternative Free Open Source medical packages on the common linux repositories , seems it’s not lack of Production as it’s Lack of use and decrease in number of the Users …

The Request :
1-adding Multi Packages format for the different Linux Distros at the official software site
2-packaging this software to the linux repositories ….
3-Using Autopackage
4-adding the software in any medical software directories and

Resources :

Hamza Emadeen Mousa

Monday, July 02, 2007

Medical Informatics Developers and Medical Experience..

Back in Cairo Months ago , I tested and tried some EMRs , HMRs ...some are developed by Freelancers and the Others Developed by programmers from IT Universities , the first look at those software which supposed to handle the Medical Records and provide us as ( Doctors , Researchers and Medical Related ) with needed Medical Records , Data ... I find most of the software are missing a lot of urgent Needs which save us time, in search, and record .... Backup Feature sometimes was good, but otherwise was a mess ..... a lot of the software users didn't get training for all the software they were using, and how to handle the Data Flow, and Input/output options ...... but some of them already got some training , but the Training was for the common daily use features not for Hidden features as well as Software Configuration ...

Some of those software was Complete Mess in Interface design ( Lack of Features or Too Much Features added ) ...... sometimes the Users (Doctor , Nurse , Researcher ... ) feel Confused , Too Much options , Lack of Customization , heavy Interface full of Unnecessary/Unusable stuff ......

Of course , You might say that the cause is the lack of training they got, and the User could be familiar with Interface ( any interface ), but it seems to me it's about Customizations of the Interface for the Users and the needs ...I believe standards of software's Interfaces should be applicate in medical software as well ,

... after some discussion with Dr. Moaaz months ago I have to take 2 looks at those types of software, first look as a User Doctor , second look as a Developer, and trying to understand the Importance/Use of Medical Data and Data Flow as a Researcher .. That's why I wrote 2 articles about that : " Features of Successful EMR software " and " Standards for Evaluation of Medical Records software " ...i'll try to add them soon.


-Interface :
Developer's opinion and Doctor's Use : 2 types of interfaces I noticed and they were too radical in my developer's opinion , and too confusing in doctor's opinion (user) :
1-Too Much Features, Gathering in the same interface, with the daily needed and uncommonly needed features.
2-Small simple Interface with the Basic Need of the software ... the other features are listed in the program menu panel

Extensive Use of Forms/Frames : using of forms was extensive ( sometimes ), sometimes the need for small info or doing small action getting into 3 or 4 forms.
Work in it as it is : Interface Customization : never got that interest by most of the developers, that would be helpful for some users, to collect and arrange the daily needed features in the interface.
(Forbidden Features ) : I see but i can't get / I click but it doesn't work , sorry this feature is only for the admin : Sometimes I get the meaning that I am neglected as a normal user, I can't use 20 to 30% of features I see in the interface as I am just a User ... so why the need for these forbidden features in the user interface ?!! ( Q for the developers ).

When I was in self-study mode studying the Software Interface Design : I recognized the simple common Interface with commonly Traditional Menus ( Menu bar , Tabs , Buttons Menu , Features Menu ) was easy to get Familiar with and dealing with the software features as It's easy to find what you are looking for .... regarding the Freelances EMRs with the unique Interface designs, which definitely need training, help, tutorials to help the user to be familiar with the software ...

-Search ( for Patients , events ) :
Basic Search : This Search type aims at getting the Data of the Targeted Data by name ( No Spell Checking and correction ) .

Expanded Search and Advanced Search Features were really disappointing ... lack of Search Features might be caused by the developer focus on the Data Input and about more than finding these data or specific data ...

Search Parameters and Search Tags : from over 40 software : I get only 2 softwares which focus on the Usability of specific data and using it as Tags or anchors for search .... and using this "Tags" to classify and arrange the Data ...

The developer should Differentiate Between Statistical Search and normal User Daily Search .... and make special user Privilege for the Statistical Search , which I never notice even for the software which consider the Statistical Search .

-Statistics :

Statistical Data and Data Analysis : Huge amounts of Medical Data and Medical Related Data are so important in Medical Statistics, and that reminds me of one of my teacher's opinion about an EMR software " Why I should Extract ( Export ) the Data then Analyze it in other Program , to Get My Statistics ? "
and my Question is : the user of an EMRs software mostly doesn't need the Statistical Data and Data Analysis , but some people do , so Why the developers didn't use User privileges to get That Statistical and Data Analysis Operations working , under super user Permission ?!!

some other thinking : Exporting the Data in Spreadsheets files ( Comma Separated Value (.csv) , Microsoft Excel (.xls) files and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods) )... then using it in another softwares.

Medical Statistics and Medical Data Analysis are very Important for Medical Researchers as well as Pharmaceutical Companies.

-Security :
Security for Patient Info is Necessary, to Protect the Patient Details and provide Privacy for Medical Data under the general law of medical Profession ...
Most of the software I've seen are completely lack of security , especially when it comes to my geeks side , sometimes under the basic Techniques I find it easy to extract the Non-Encrypted Data ... but that's was in some basic EMRs.
some more basic ones already got no access password and sometimes without any user system at all..

of course there are Great ones taking care of this Security matters ... and Data Encryption , but The Great Extra Feature I've ever seen is Encryption of the Backuped Data ...

-Users levels - Users privileges :
at Forbidden Features Interface Section : I recognized many of EMRs Systems never care about User levels and Privilege and deal with the system as one Block , sometimes for one level of users ( even there is Multiple users level ) , and single one Interface even there is users level and many privileges , ( Why there is unused - inactive features ( Forbidden features ) for the normal daily users ? as (Backup ,Configuration , Encryption , Security ..etc )

User supposed to work with this EMR ? who ? and what are their privileges?? The Daily User should not get an access to Statistical Data or Statistical Search ..

-Software Compatibilities , Operating System , and Other Software Compatibilities and Dependencies :
In Pre-Alpha (and/or Pre-Beta) Testing the Developer/s should get the first error and Compatibility debugging reports , letting the User get the first hits of errors never was good idea ...

-Backup (DB Backup and Configuration Backup) :
Using Backup aimed to save the Medical Records Data from being lost ( Human Error , Hardware error , Software error , Operating System Crash ) .

Two types of DB Backup system we got so far :
1- Same Species ( Same software ) special backup system dedicated to this special EMR Using special Encrypted Files , can be used only by this software.
2- International Backup , Using Spreadsheets files ( Comma Separated Value (.csv) , Microsoft Excel (.xls) files and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods) )...International File Backup System : can be imported in Statistical Analysis systems .....

Saving The Backups :
1. Hard Copy : Burned to CD/DVD or Copied to Movable Drive ...
2. Uploaded and Saved to Web servers ...

-Communication :
Communication is a major Needed especially in Hospitals and Research Centers , definitely when this EMR is working on Network mode for Multiusers and for many related departments (as ex. Surgery , Radiology ) , Communication Between the Users should also consider the Data Transfer Mode ....

-Training :
Lack of Training among all these EMRs was the common disadvantage , I notice , Confused User has to deal with the Interface ( simple or Complex ) with amount of Features ( low , or Too Much ) as well as configuration / re-configuration of the system or Backup of his Data ....
Documents , Help files , FAQs , sometimes were great , but the developers could save time if they considered the Training could save the User Time .

-Development and Experience :
As result of lack in medical Experience most of the developers ,produce insufficient software with , sometimes with lack of features , or missing the points of our daily medical use ...
The aim of this topic is to provide the developers /project's Directors and sometimes at the hospital to know the medical need and experience the medical reality themselves to help us gaining time not loosing it ..

Dr.Hamza Emadeen Mousa