Friday, August 24, 2007

Medinfo Day 5

The final day of the conference started with plenaries presenting the state of ehealth development in 3 different countries. Sarah Cramer (Cancer Care, Canada) described the developments in her country with an emphasis on Ontario. She talked about a risk averse political system that introduced change driven by concerns about access and waiting times. They set out from a very low IT base an established a unique patient identifier as the first step towards enhanced information sharing. She listed the key sucess factors and outlined future implementation plans.

Ian Reinecke (CEO National E-Health Transition Authority, Australia) described the reasons for a national approach to support interoperability, infrastructure and good governance related to privacy and confidentiality. He described the work programs being undertaken, including the adoption of SNOMED CT, and how the ehealth agenda was needed for clinical process reform.

The third presentation provided a similar overview of developments in New Zealand.
Francois-Andre Allaert
After coffee I attended a couple of papers relating to secure data transmission. The first, by Francois-Andre Allaert set out proposals in France for a unique health identifier, interopable at a European level. He highlighted issues of data protection and confidentiality and listed the key faetures as being: content free, longevity, permanence, unambiguous and unique, public and irreversible. He described the one way "Hash Coding" of the social security number, name and date of birth to enable secure tranmission of non identifiable data for epidemiological research. This session produced the longest Question and answer session I've seen at the whole conference with issues around the hash algorithm and different formats being interspersed with social issues around immigrants, name changes due to marriage etc.
Michael Spritzer
The second paper was by Michael Spritzer from Germany who talked about a DICOM supported teleradiology system and the approaches taken to separating the content (xray and CT images) from patient identification information which is only recombined within the secure web browser of authorised users.

Ken RubinThe final closing ceremonies opened with a presentation by Ken Rubin (Chief Healthcare architect - EDS) who was given the unenviable task of summarising lessons from the conference. He admitted this was beyond his abilities and carried on to give his prepared presentation outlining "What is a sustainable system and what does it mean for healthcare".

Jan van BemmelNancy Lorenzi presented the IMIA Award of Excellence to Jan van Bemmel who gave his presentation reflections on curiosity in which he covered the history of astronomy and knowledge, using quotes from Einstein to explore the meaning of science and research with several nods to religion.

The ceremony included lots of "Thanks to..." comments and Charles Saffrin presented the awards for best paper, poster etc with sponsorship from Pen Computing.

Nancy then handed over the presidency to Reinhold Haux who described the IMIA-WHO communique signed this week and the IMIA strategic aims for the next 3 years of his presidency (including a ?planned? slip replacing humility with humidity - which got a laugh after a wet week in Brisbane). He also gave a plug for MIE2008 in Goteburg.

Medinfo2010 teamThe final actions were to "handover the gavel" to the team who will be running Medinfo 2010, in cape town. There was then a short opportunity to say farewell from the convention centre to friends and colleagues new and old, before people started departing to get various flights all over the world.

I hope to post a final piece with my reflections on Medinfo but it may not be until I get back to the UK.

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  • Altogether an interesting congress, with colleagues old and new giving updates and raising new issues. A refreshing number of new players entering the field, and I am feeling very, very old as the mid-20 year old son of a previous work colleague was working in the exhibition, small world eh !!!
    Now going through my notes from the event - I wish I could read my own cryptic hieroglphs after the event.
    Came home via direct flights and only 3 hour transit in Singapore and 2 in london - rather a rough way to get back in gear but reorientation seems quicker.
    Anyone with 'constructive comments' re MEDinfo that they wish to be shared with 2010 organisers pls let me knwo as part of a UK reflections piece, totally anonymous.

    By Blogger Jean R, at 8:13 pm  

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