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Medicine 2.0’09 Toronto September 18, 2009

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Peter is at Medicine 2.0’09 in Toronto; a great conference and as interesting and dynamic as last year’s inaugural event. He will be blogging mostly on the official conference blog at http://medicine20congress.blogspot.com/ – there are several other bloggers, most of them students of Gunther Eysenbach.

The best way to follow the event ‘live’ is through Twitter – search for #med2


Healthcamp Toronto September 16, 2009

Posted by peterjmurray in conference, health informatics, unconference.
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Peter is at his first healthcamp/barcamp, here in Toronto. A lot of interesting, enthusiastic people here to look at a wide variety of issues. The formal website for the event, which will have summaries, conversations, links, etc is at http://www.socialtext.net/hctoronto/index.cgi?healthcamptoronto

A lot of the major conversation will be via Twitter – search using #hcTO

I am here to learn what these events are all about, how they work, etc., and what benefits there can be out of them.

UPDATE: 17 Sept. Healthcamp Toronto was an interesting experience; @carlosrizo and all his colleagues at the Innovation Cell did a great job of organising and running it – and of trying to capture all the conversations, which is a difficult task. It wil be interesting to see the various analyses that come out of it. Having been involved in running quite a few similarly semi-structured workshops etc. in the past, I appreciate the challenges of trying to get away from talking heads and monologues and death by powerpoint, etc.

The idea of having a ‘wall’ where people could post what they wanted to discuss in sessions worked well; although requires you to think quickly and try to grasp what the session ‘leader’ is looking to explore. A lot of the session notes, together with video clips and photos are on the website; I recommend you to go and explore that. A few ideas/issues I picked up from the sessions I went to:

  • how do we bring people without technical skills into using online tools? – how do we overcome some of digital divides?
  • will social networking tools become part of people’s normal social landscape in the future, and so these become ‘non-issues’ in the future?
  • there were many differing views of the value of content on some online discussion areas – some suggest low value (too much ‘noise’), some report studies that give high value/accurate information (more accurate information often in areas for more specific/specialised diseases).
  • do we need filtering of information, or does the good material rise and stay, and the dross fall away (via crowdsourcing etc)?
  • what do we mean by Web 3.0 and what will it mean for health? (search Twitter for comments here).

The discussion 'grid'


Welcome to healthcamp - the rules of healthcamp ....


A Healthcamp Wordle from live analysis of tweets

MIE2009 is over – onwards to Toronto September 3, 2009

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MIE2009 is now finished, and people will be returning home from Sarajevo today, if they have not already done so.

Peter will be blogging from the Medicine 2.0’09 event in Toronto, Canada on 17-18 September (http://www.medicine20congress.com). There will also be an official blog for the event this year – http://medicine20congress.blogspot.com/

In addition, he hopes to be able to cover the Healthcamp Toronto (http://healthcamp.ca/) – I have not been to a Healthcamp yet, so I am looking forward to learning.

MIE2009 – final day September 2, 2009

Posted by peterjmurray in education, EFMI, Europe.
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Today is the last day of MIE2009. I won’t be reporting much, as my flight home is at lunchtime. Last night was the gala dinner, held in a restored beerhall near Sarajevo town centre. A good time was had by all; Izet sang and ended up losing his voice, he told me this morning. I will upload some photos later, if any have come out OK.

The final keynote speaker is Silvia Miksch from Danube University Krems, Austria, talking on “Computer-Based Medical Guidelines and Protocols: Current Trends”. She is a computer scientist, and is addressing the issues from this perspective. She outlined the problem areas from a user perspective, of information overload, transfer of information and knowledge, and assessment of the quality of care. She notes that there are many different definitions of clinical guidelines and protocols, with varying views in different countries. The guidelines tend to be free text, flowcharts or algorithms – they are used with the aim of improving quality of care and consistency of care, as well as cutting down on costs.

My final bit of MIE2009 is Luis Fernandez-Luque’s presentation on “Challenges and Opportunities of Using Recommender Systems for Personalized Health Education” – related to the work he is doing for his PhD. Tailoring health information is an important aspect of medical informatics. Health education has to do with aptitudes and knowledge relating to improving health – can tailor information to the needs of the individual. Traditionally, tailored health information has been in related to specific diseases or health issues – have been 3 parts, ie gathering information on the users, knowledge of the health information available, and then giving the tailored information to the user, often via rule-based systems. Much web-based work in this area, is still based on the traditional methods. One problem now is the plethora of resources available – and it can be difficult to find good quality content.

Now moving into area of information retrieval tools – search engines or recommender systems. Three types of recommender systems – collaborative (based on gathering knowledge for similar users), content (based additionally on items as well as user information) and hybrid. Some examples of health-related systems – HealthyHarlem (community of patients who tag resources); Cancer Sites Recommender (University of Toronto); MyHealthEducator. Such systems do not rely on experts (although some input from them can help), but derive information from the users. Many recommender systems rely just on popularity of items/resources, and may be skewed due to interests of heavy users. Are no ethical guidelines governing development and use of recommender systems, and the sorts of profiling they are doing on users. Recommender systems have potential for use in health – cannot rely just of popularity as a guide, and quality control is needed. Audience question – what is the role of ‘reputation’?

MIE2009 – public health informatics session September 1, 2009

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The first paper of the ‘public health informatics’ session is “The Use of Open Source and Web2.0 in Developing an Integrated EHR and E-Learning System for the Greek Smoking Cessation Network”. The aim of developing the system was to give health professionals access to online information to support patient education, and there are 3 sub-systems – data collection systems, e-learning environment (Moodle based), and a discussion forum, developed with phpBB. The e-learning environment and forum are for use by both patients and health professionals.

The second paper is on “Comparative Study between Expert and Non-Expert Biomedical Writings: Their Morphology and Semantics”. The presentation described the research methods used, and results obtained, in a morpho-semantic analysis, using NLP tools to examine a corpus of documents, and explore the discourses within the documents, with a focus on cardiology-related materials.

The third paper (a short student paper) is titled “Designing an E-Health Application in Collaboration with Obesity Patients”. The aim of developing the ehealth application is to foster self-management. A qualitative research study used workshops and goup discussions to get end-user input to the design of the application, and those involved will also be involved in evaluation before implementation of the application. Patient participants in the process had had either weight loss surgery or lifestyle modification treatment. The patients proposed the development of ‘buddy system’ and online self-help groups, drawing on the experiences of people who had had similar issues.

The next paper (a short student paper) is “Improving Cardiology Workflow in a Hospital Using a Mobile Software Solution”.

The final paper is titled “Interoperability Services in the MPOWER Ambient Assisted Living Platform”. The MPOWER project is an EU funded project that completed in July 2009. Interoperability was an important part of the project due to the many proprietary solutions that exist in the field of ambient assisted living, and the project was aimed at developing middleware platforms.

MIE2009 Tuesday keynote – health enabling technologies September 1, 2009

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The first keynote talk of the day is from Reinhold Haux, IMIA President, on “Health enabling technologies for pervasive health care: a pivotal field for future medical informatics research and education?” He gave a background introduction to the Peter Reichertz Institute in Germany, named after one of the German pioneers of medical informatics. The institute has a research focus on eHealth, health-enabling technologies, and links to work in robotics, engineering and computer science, as well as being part of a medical school.

Reinhold introduced some of the demographic changes that will impact the future nature of healthcare delivery. There will be less working age people – will this mean that less people are able to afford quality care? Health enabling technologies (HET) and pervasive health may provide some answers. HET are designed to create conditions for sustainable health and self-care. Pervasive healthcare is about continuous care, with focus on home and outpatient care, proactive prevention of illness, assistive technologies, sensors everywhere, and being patient-centric. Saranummi’s 3 P’s of pervasive care are pervasive, personal and personalised. Enabling older people to live longer in their homes, rather than in hospital, can result in greatly reduced health costs.

Reinhold gave realtime examples of the use of triaxial accelerometer (which he was wearing) which can monitor movement, especially falls, and live monitoring of ECG (which he was also wearing). But he notes privacy issues on monitoring of the data. He reported on studies about measuring individual fall risk in people/patients by analysing gait movement; found that they could give high level of  prediction of fall risk, with about 80% accuracy, and activity levels were the most important parameter to measure.

He asked what are the consequences for or relation of HET to health/medical informatics. Is it ‘just’ bioengineering and sensor use? – he feels it is more than this, and is a part of health/medical informatics with implications for research and education. Health and medical informatics is an ever-changing field. HET will particularly have an effect on outpatient and home care. This will have impact on communications with professional and family care givers.

Search/follow @omowizard on Twitter for some further reports.