From the International Medical Informatics Association

III International Symposium of Nursing and Informatics; March 16-17, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The III International Symposium of Nursing and Informatics (III Simpósio Internacional de Informática em Enfermagem) will take place in São Paulo, Brazil on 16-17 March, 2012. The event will be held at the Matsubara Hotel, Rua Coronel Oscar Porto, 836, Paraíso – São Paulo.

Information on the event (in Portuguese) is available at on the website of SBIS, the Sociedade Brasileira de Informática em Saúde (

Among the objectives of the event are: to promote technical and scientific update to generate and share information; to promote the development of informatics in nursing and telenursing in Brazil.

SBIS, the Sociedade Brasileira de Informática em Saúde, is an IMIA Member Society.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Brazil, conference, IMIA-LAC, nursing | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Medinfo2015 will be in …

As noted in the short report from the IMIA Board and GA meetings, the decision on the host/venue for Medinfo1015 has been made.

Two high quality bids were presented to the IMIA GA – one from the Brazilian Health Informatics Association (SBIS – and one from the China Medical Informatics Association (CMIA – Both bids were presented to the GA by teams from CMIA and SBIS. After discussion, a vote was taken among eligible GA members.

Medinfo2015 will be held in Sao Paolo, Brasil – in late August 2015. Further information will be provided at, and after, Medinfo103 (

August 29, 2011 Posted by | conference, IMIA, IMIA-LAC, medinfo | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fifth Congress on Health Informatics Standards in Latin America – Montevideo, Uruguay: October 13-14, 2011

The Fifth Congress on Health Informatics Standards in Latin America takes place in Montevideo, Uruguay, on October 13th – 14th, 2011. Full information about the event can be found at:

The event is organized by SUIS (Sociedad Uruguaya de Informática en la Salud – and SUEIIDISS (Sociedad Uruguaya de Estandarización, Intercambio e Integración de Datos e Información de Servicios de Salud –

SUIS is a Member Society of IMIA. We encourage all IMIA members to attend.

June 20, 2011 Posted by | conference, IMIA-LAC, region | , , , | Leave a comment

IMIA Board Meeting, Guadalajara, Mexico; Next Board/GA Meeting, Oslo, Norway

The IMIA Board met in Guadalajara, Mexico on 20 May 2011, following the successful INFOLAC2011 conference.

The next IMIA Board and General Assembly meetings will be held in Oslo, Norway on August 27 and 28, 2011 respectively, in conjunction with MIE2011 (

IMIA Board and guests dinner (photo courtesy Jacob Hofdijk); Guadalajara Cathedral (photo courtesy Antoine Geissbuhler)

May 27, 2011 Posted by | IMIA, IMIA-LAC | | Leave a comment

INFOLAC2011 – Day 1 Roundup

In addition to the keynote talks already reported in the previous post, a number of other internationally-recognised speakers presented at INFOLAC2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Some of the presentations were i English, while others were given in Spanish; simultaneous translation was provided for all presentations.

Ed Hammond, from Duke University, USA talked on “Supporting healthy independent living and medical management”. He began from the premise that currently over-65s are 12% of the US population ; by 2030, they will be 19%. This gives challenges, in particular that resources for caring for aging population will be inadequate; aging groups will saturate the healthcare system if we continue using the current healthcare model. In addition, those reaching 65 years old can expect to live another 25-40 years; what will they do with their time? People age differently – but the goal is of independent healthy living.

Ed believes that the focus should be on ‘the person’, and finds even the term ‘patient-centric’ to be inadequate. The hospital, doctor etc. are, or should be, ‘service components’ in supporting health, activity, quality of life, etc. He discussed physical communities, social networking to support interactions and community, and the possibilities of virtual reality to support virtual travel and education. Self-care, he believes, is the only way to deal with the issues – it is an affordable model to enhance healthy, independent living processes, but can be supported by real-time links to healthcare professionals to offer support. Feedback is a critical part of self-care. In closing, Ed asked how we define quality of life; it varies for different people, and probably changes over time. What defines ‘life worth living’? The challenges for realistic healthy independent living in ageing are to recognise limits – but also we need to explore how technology can help accomplish our goals.

Lyn Hanmer, from the South African Medical Research Council and IMIA Secretary, talked on “Criteria for evaluation of health information systems for low-resource settings”. She said that increasing use of computerised health information systems in low resource settings are a relative high proportion of total health budgets, and so in these countries and regions, there is even more need to make sure that they are doing what we want them to do efficiently and effectively. The context for Lyn’s talk is situations where there are limited or vulnerable resources – limited means distribution of resources can be variable, but generally quantities are not enough to meet defined system specs. Vulnerable means access to resources can be interrupted for a variety of reasons. Infrastructure issues may impact availability, as may lack of availability of skilled personnel, variability of funding (present and future) may impact long-term sustainability of systems.

She discussed multiple approaches to HIS development and maintenance – different development models may apply and vary by sector (commercial or public sector) – systems may be developed externally (for different environment) and imported – bespoke locally-developed systems are more likely to meet local requirements. Open source systems may also be used, but equally, may need localisation.  She noted that in terms of evaluation, there are multiple approaches and guidelines – GEP-HI and STARE-HI have been developed at least in part within IMIA. They are useful in planning, implementing and reporting on evaluation studies. Other examples cited were the DeLone and McLean (2003) model of IS success, which includes system use, user satisfaction and net benefits. Assessment of ‘fit’ between IS and the environment is in the ITPOSMO model (Heeks and colleagues on ‘design-reality gaps’) – the HOT-fit model  includes human, organisation and technology factors.

Hanmer (2009) has done work on a revised conceptual model (, resulting in a proposed set of criteria for evaluation: criteria looking at fit with environment and needs (eg are there assumptions in the design that do not match with the local environment); resource availability and allocation (inc. identifying points of vulnerability); and decision making and contracts (need to define policy and strategy to inform decision-making).

The challenges, Lyn summarised, include identification of the appropriate HIS; ensuring availability of resources on a sustained basis; empowering decision-makers; finding appropriate evaluation tools. Low resource settings require high quality HIS implementations – many solutions can be implemented locally.

Other speakers included:

  • Yunkap Kwankam (ISfTeH) talking on organising the health profession in different countries;
  • Otto Rienhoff talking on history of medical informatics in IMIA-LAC and elsewhere;
  • Peter Murray (IMIA CEO) on aspects of social media and Web 2.0.

The day concluded with a Mexican dinner, accompanied by tequila and mariachi music, both of which are said to originate in the Guadalajara area.

May 19, 2011 Posted by | conference, IMIA, IMIA-LAC, Latin America | , , , | Leave a comment

INFOLAC2011 – Geissbuhler and Haux Keynotes

The opening keynote talks of INFOLAC2011 ( were delivered by Antoine Geissbuhler, IMIA President, who gave the first keynote, titled “Telemedicine and distance education of isolated care professionals in developing countries” and Reinhold Haux, IMIA Past President, talking “On patient-centred health information system architecture: concepts and examples”. Live tweets from the presentations can be found by searching Twitter for the #infolac2011 hashtag. Both presenters were introduced by Valerio Yacubsohn, from Argentina, an IMIA Honorary Fellow and one of the pioneers of developing health informatics in Latin America.

Antoine noted that Latin America is one of the emerging regions in the field of health and medical informatics. His talk focused on the need for health informatics, but noted that it is only useful if it helps patients and people live a better life – and this is within the role of IMIA. he stressed the need to learn lessons from each other – including examples from different countries. He gave an overview of the nature, structure and key values of IMIA, noting that the regions are very important in IMIA as a natural place to bring together groups and people with similar cultures, languages and issues. Publications are also an important mechanism for sharing knowledge – including the IMIA Yearbook and leading journals. he noted one of the main strengths of IMIA being its Working Groups, bringing together experts from around the world on specific topics – to bring together knowledge from around the world.

Antoine’s talk dealt with how we can support care professionals where they are most needed, noting that this is not necessarily/primarily a technical problem, but that technologies can help. There are many countries with critical shortages of health service providers and care professionals (in particular in sub Saharan Africa); he addressed examples of how we can use technology meaningfully to address the problems.

He discussed the RAFT network, which aims to develop south-south distance education for care professionals, mainly in French-speaking Africa. It is a collaborative network, including Geneva Hospitals/University, WHO, UNESCO, etc., and with about 60 hospitals in 18 countries in Africa as part of the network – the people running the network need to trust each other and work together. The technology, he noted, needs to be adapted to the reality of the local situation – locally there is a need for tools to deliver low bandwidth distance education, that can be accessed in places where access to Internet may be unreliable. The network also supports teleconsultation to provide asynchronous collaboration by experts to deal with clinical cases.

The RAFT project has also developed 80% of courses produced in Africa – providing 16 hours of e-courses per month – to an average of 18 sites connected at a time, but there can be over 40 sites. Courses are aimed at a range of health care professionals and teaching activities lead to certificates and other qualifications. A spin-off has been south-north teaching exchanges, ie delivery of teaching (eg on leprosy) from Mali to Geneva. There has also been work on developing local centres of expertise, eg in Bamako, Mali to help develop research and development in-country and in surrounding countries.

Reinhold addressed the research areas, include health enabling technologies, at the Peter L. Reichertz Institute in Germany. He began by noting issues of health care and population development – especially issues around ageing populations – that are a key factor affecting all countries of the world. The potential support ratio (of younger people to support older) is changing radically in all parts of the world – and this, with increases in chronic disease and other disease patterns, and decrease in numbers of health professionals, are leading to necessary changes in health care organisation. Reinhold saw the WHO ehealth resolution of 2005 as an important step in addressing the issues and raising awareness of the problems, and of the need to move to patient-centred care.

The focus of his talk was on health information systems; a simple question exists, he said, that needs to be addressed – how to deal with HIS architectures and information management strategies when more than one organisation is involved in care. The question becomes increasingly complex as we move beyond traditional care settings etc to the patient’s home and outside. He is currently involved in projects looking at the reality of changing practice of care, including elements of social care (housing ) as well as traditional aspects of health care –  eHealth.Braunschweig –  The project includes what needs to be changed in home environments to support care, healthy living, etc. The research is finding that people do not necessarily want to move to new homes (even supported ‘smart homes’) but want affordable services in their own homes.
Among barriers to progress are that while the need for collaboration is unanimously supported, the organisational framework is still fragile – questions of financial attractiveness and competition hamper progress. Reinhold concluded by noting that patient-centred care is still a challenge – it needs to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, including new forms of care.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | conference, education, IMIA, IMIA-LAC, Latin America | , , , , | Leave a comment

INFOLAC2011 – Day 1

The INFOLAC2011 conference formally begins today in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The Conferencia Latinoamericana de Informática de la Salud is organised and supported by, among others, IMIA, IMIA-LAC, and AMIM

The conference website is at – you can follow the event over the next two days via Twitter (@IMIATweets and @infolac2011 – hashtag #infolac2011) and through the Facebook event page –

The event began yesterday with a series of pre-conference workshops, and an evening cocktail reception.

Photos courtesy of Osmán J. Argüello.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | conference, education, IMIA, IMIA-LAC, Latin America | , , , | Leave a comment

INFOLAC 2011 Next Week in Mexico

The INFOLAC 2011 conference – theme/title Health Informatics: Improving Quality of Care Through Global Collaboration – takes place next week, on 17-19 May, 2011 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. It is still possible to register to attend the event.

Full details are on the conference website at – including the agenda and details on some of the major speakers, as well as registration information. The IMIA Board will also meet after this event, on 20 May.

May 9, 2011 Posted by | conference, education, IMIA, IMIA-LAC | , , , | Leave a comment

Latin American Health Services and ICT: New Book

A new book, Development Connections: Unveiling the Impact of New Information Technologies, will be unveiled in April (publication date May 2011) by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It will explore examples of how the use of information and communication technology (ICT) tools can greatly improve health care provision, cost-effectiveness, and health outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean. Experiences in Peru, Chile and Nicaragua show how ICTs can help improve health outcomes when combined with adequate provision of medicines and health services. The book will note, however, that in many countries in the region, the use of ICTs in the health care sector is still in its infancy, and its application has generated mixed results.

The IDB applied strict statistical tools in a systematic way to evaluate how these technologies contributed to the success of several development projects in the region. The book analyzes the degree to which ICTs contributed to the success of 46 development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean in six different areas, including health, education and poverty.

Further information about the book is available at

Further discussion is at

Source: PAHO/WHO Knowledge Management and Communication KMC – Knowledge Sharing email list.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | IMIA-LAC, Latin America | , , , | Leave a comment

Forthcoming Events – Post No. 300

To mark the 300th post since the start of this new format IMIA News, we highlight some of the major health and biomedical events to be offered by IMIA and its members and other constituent parts over the next few years. These offer opportunities for academics, researchers, scientists and other members of the international community to come together to share experiences and further develop the practice and science of our field. This highlighting should not be taken to mean that we place any less value on the events that are not mentioned here – many IMIA Member Societies, Working Groups, etc. hold regular events that appeal to local or regional members, or to those with focus on particular sub-domains.

Among the major events – at many of which the IMIA Board and/or General Assembly will meet – are:

INFOLAC2011 – May 17-19, 2011 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico –

MIE2011 – August 28-31, 200 in Oslo, Norway –

NI2012 – June 23-27, 2012 in Montreal, Canada –

Medinfo2013 – August 21-23, 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark –

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Canada, conference, Denmark, education, EFMI, Europe, IMIA, IMIA-LAC, Latin America, MIE, Norway | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment