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InfoLAC, Pilar, Argentina October 30, 2008

Posted by peterjmurray in education, health informatics, IMIA.
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Moving around Argentina – if it’s Thursday, it must be Pilar, near Buenos Aires. After the IMIA Education WG conference earlier in the week, we moved yesterday to Pilar, where the InfoLAC 2008 conference is being held (http://www.infolac2008.com.ar). Due to meetings, I am not going to be at much of the event to report it, but a here for the opening session and my talk on open source and open access.

The event was opened by Dr Marcelo Villar, Rector of the Universidad Austral, who gave an opening address/welcome. He noted the gathering of different disciplines that are coming together to give a series of interlinked events under the InfoLAC2008 umbrella (primarily the Second Argentinian Congress on Medical Informatics, Third Latin American Congress on Medical Informatics, and Second Argentinian Symposium on Nursing Informatics). He sees basic science as being very important, but it needs to be linked to practical implementation, and the changes in speed of introduction of developments from basic science into technological change is resulting in new ways for science and technology to interact and influence decision-making on management of innovation.

Registrations, he says, have exceeded the expectations of the organisers, and a large number of organisations in Latin America are co-operating to deliver the event, which also has support of several local and national government organisations in Argentina. He says that in medical informatics we need to work together to be more than the addition of individual elements.

Dr Juan Carlos di Lucca, President of AAIM and of InfoLAC 2008 also welcomed participants. He talked of the need to redesign processes to improve efficiency in health care, and the important role that informatics has to play in these changes. He asked how do we measure the mission statements that many organisations have? – many organisations have such statements, but have not thought about issues of measuring them. Cultural issues in transformation can result in marked resistance effects in implementation of informatics systems.

The opening keynote address was given by Reinhold Haux, IMIA President, on ‘eHealth and patient-centred care’. He began by highlighting the importance of interdisciplinarity, with different disciplines working together. He began by giving an overview and introduction to IMIA, and on the Peter Reichertz Institute, named after a pioneer of health informatics in Germany. He talked about the hospital information systems circle, of planning, directing and monitoring, through systematic management, monitoring of projects and good information processing practice in a continuous circle of interaction. Today, hospital information system management and architectures are well-established for physical institutions such as hospitals. We are now moving to eHealth and the need for trans-institutional systems, and need to develop professional approaches to the wide range of issues that arise due to sharing information between independent healthcare providers, but working to achieve a common purpose; need to move to patient-centred care and not institution-centred approaches to care. He suggests that basic information management principles remain relevant.

Moving to global health information management issues, he highlighted the important of the WHO eHealth resolution of 2005, and noted the IMIA-WHO collaboration communique agreed at medinfo2007, with its focus on working together on the Global Observatory for eHealth and other projects.

I participated in an open source panel that drew a full room and was chaired by Jorge Rodriguez, from the Biolinux Group in Argentina. My presentation was on wider issues of open access and overcoming the digital divide – I will add a link to it when I upload it to Slideshare later.

The second presentation was about the PESCA project, from Julio Lorca from Spain. The third talk, about open source and thin clients in hospital networks, was presented by Abel Cardenas, from the Grupo Biolinux in Argentina. The final presentation was from Alberto Menini on the use of the i-Path open source telemedicine platform.

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