Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Medinfo Day 2

After a late start opening the Ball room introductory plenaries started on a sunny Tuesday morning, on which I got a good view of the South Bank cultural centre and the roof of the convention centre from my hotel bedroom with the Skyneedle in the background.

Philip Davis- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

Welcomed delegates & described announcements yesterday about increasing roll out of ehealth in Australian & particularly to remote aboriginal communities

Sol Trujillo (CEO Telstra) Changing the paradigm in healthcare

He described a series of issues in a changing world with relevance to ehealth. These included;. Ageing & more mobile populations (increasing transmission f disease) transforming viruses, administration & healthcare costs & improving access to high quality healthcare.

He talked about the role of telecoms companies - & discussed his famous philosopher Yogi Bear who said “the future ain’t what it used to be”, and argued that we ar moving through a paradigm shift to integrated services. Telstra claims the fastest mobile network in the world providing the “central nervous system of Australia.

He focused on the patient experience & gave a very positive picture of how the technology would enhance care, with high resolution video based communications.& other aspects of telehealth; body area networks & biometric monitoring, at a cost one hundred times less than residential care. He argued for the benefits of Web2.0 fr support networks.

He talked about the changes for health professionals & a reduction in patient errors. Some impressive videos highlighted (advertised) various Telstra initiatives (eg NextG) supporting care delivery. Ballarat District Nursing Service use of mobile devices & time savings in their work. He talked about ways of enhancing professional development and interprofessional relationships. He also mentioned the potential advantages of RFID in medicines administration and eprescribing to reduce errors.

The questiona and answer session touched on international collaboration, privacy and confidentiality and ways of influencing makers.

The second keynote speaker was Muir Gray (NHS National Knowledge Service). As ever Muir was future scoping working from an overview of the 1st and 2nd healthcare revolutions to the currently 3rd revolution. He highlighted the 8 common problems which are common in healthcare systems in all developed countries, and needs and drivers to overcome them.

He strongly argued that the professions are out of step with current society and that the key to change was to empower patients (or punters) and they would bring about change. He used the analogy of the provision of drinking water and how that improved health to the provision of CLEAN, CLEAR KNOWLEDGE. He highlighted Map of Medicine and other ways of providing, organising and delivering knowledge as being more appropriate for busy clinicians than long complex journal papers.

He concluded with plugs for his book and his new "SoundsHealthy" podcasts and asked people to turn to their neighbour and describe where they thought we might be in 2010.

Following the plenaries and a quick coffee break and attempts to sort out the technology for our panel presentation later, I attended a panel in the Nursing Education Theme entitled: Using a Master List of Nursing Informatics Competencies in Education, Practice and Research Setting with speakers from the USA and Finland. Carole Gossert and her colleagues described how the master list was developed from existing literature and validated by a Delphi technique. The list is available from
and it's use and evaluation in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing curriculum development at the University of Utah, University of Kuopio and Ohio State university was described.

Lunch was taken "on the run" while trying to sort out various software for our presentation at 14.00 - we already knew that it would not be possible to bring in Bill live from the USA via Elluminate, which had been our original plan - therefore he sent a Powerpoint with a voice over and we used an MP3 podcast from Margaret Hansen about Podcasts! - the limited network running Microsoft office had trouble running the wide variety of applications from Macs, open office etc although the technicians worked hard to get it all up & running by the 14.00 kick off time.

Scott, Peter and I covered a myriad of topics in the Emerging Technologies theme under the title, Connection, Collaboration and Creativity: Exploring Web 2.0 Applications in Health Informatics and Professional Development - possibly an example of a human mashup on the fly - and we even managed to get a higher level of audience participation and discussion amongst the 80-90 attendees than I had seen in other sessions.

The presentation, podcast, vodcast (or whatever) will be available as soon as we have it sorted from or
we also suggested that anyone blogging from the conference use the tag medinfo2007 so that they can all be seen on the technorati site at:

After a quick recovery coffee, cigarette etc (smoking is very restricted in Australia) I attended some presentations in the Education and Training Theme. Luca Bucceliero described work in the development of a "Health Supplement" for the ECDL/ICDL. Yiyu Qiu then presented her work on a multi methods approach to assessing health information systems end users training needs, based on work more usually undertaken in usability testing.

By that point in the day I was wilting (still a bit jet lagged) and I made my way back to the hotel, in the rain, for a rest before grabbing a bit to eat and attending an "open mic" comedy club in a nearby pub. I don't know if it was a good representation of Australian humour but some bits were very funny others did not breach the cultural divide to me. I did notice there was less heckling than there would have been at a similar event in the UK, and that it finished earlier - probably a good thing so that I could get some sleep.

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