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IMIA Education WG – academia and eHealth keynote October 27, 2008

Posted by peterjmurray in education, health informatics, IMIA.
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The start of the afternoon session is a keynote from Kendall Ho, from University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine, titled ‘Involving academia in e-health capacity building – a Canadian perspective’. He framed questions around meeting health information needs today, and how to train today’s and tomorrow’s practitioners, how to keep up with innovations, and how we might turn today’s best practices into tomorrow’s routines. He opened with the Chinese idiom about ‘throwing bricks to get jade’.

He described the study undertaken in 2007-08 to look a EHR training in academia, and at the opportunities and challenges; they surveyed physicians, nurses and pharmacists, and found a clinical/education gap with uneven recognition and acceptance of practices, lack of formal training in health informatics; accommodating health informatics in the curriculum s very difficult for all health professionals, due to crowded curricula; capacity is lacking in terms of faculty champions in many areas, and there is a reseach gap. Traditional curriculum approaches have been unhelpful (trying to squeeze new subjects into a crowded area), and curriculum evolution can be challenging; should health informatics be elective or required, and is it a separate discipline or not?

He raised questions around whether institutions see health informatics as the ‘burning platforms’ that are ‘must have’ developments, and how to involve curriculum decision-makers. Research and evaluation, and the attraction of research fund to the field, are often seen as strong drivers/attractors for many institutional leaders. UBC has created a new eHealth Strategy Office that Dr Ho chairs, and sees anecessary interaction between research, evaluation, and translation into routine practice.

In terms of education, he described the need for pre-med health informatics introductions, medical student EHR, residents to MD training in health informatics skills, community training based in patient-driven needs for information, and the need to develop an ehealth masters degree. Similarly, he sees the need to develop research in parallel to all of these areas, and then translating these into developments such as evidence-based policy and global eHealth developments. He sees these areas interacting and re-inforcing each other.

Dr Ho talked about some specific examples, such as PDA clinial practice guidelines, that have been in development for several years (www.clinipearls.ca); this aims to deliver 80% of the information needed by clinicians within 3 screen clicks and 15 seconds. Technology enabled academic detailing (http://www.mytead.ca/), deriving out of evidence-based prescribing, eprescribing and reporting is also being developed and researched, due to funding from several sources, including Nokia Foundation and canadian provincial government. His final example is ICT for muticultural public engagement (www.iconproject.org) in a Chinese Online Health Network.

He closed by raising a ‘wish list’ including research into the sociology of e-presence and moving from educational experimentation to standardisation, and the development of resources of expertise to aid other institutions in development of health informatic curricula.

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