• Events
  • DHIS conference was wide-ranging and a success

    On the 21st of April, 55 speakers and 120 people arrived in Bloemfontein, South Africa for the District Health Information System (DHIS) Conference. The four-day event provided a platform to explore new developments, innovations and possibilities around health information systems development and information use. It was a joint event by Health Information Systems Program (HISP) and South African National Department of Health. Over the last 20 years, DHIS in many Sub-Saharan African countries and Asian countries has evolved from spreadsheets supporting paper based records to a sophisticated web based system.

    The goal of the conference was to explore and share best practices and lessons learned. These are derived from a wide range of experience and stakeholdres, such as health information users, systems developers, health leaders, programme managers, district managers, provincial managers and health planners.  Participants were from eight countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.

    South Africa’s National Department of Health presented its innovative work computerising health facilities and developing electronic data capture in health clinics. Its 700 Facilities initiative brings 21st century technology to health facilities with the aim of decreasing patients’ waiting times and improving service quality.

    Three round table groups reviewed:

    Implementing EHRs in resource-constrained contexts Innovations and best practices for hosting large databases in the cloud, including security issues, back-up and recovery procedures and data access Achievements from South Africa’s eHealth Normative Standards Framework for Interoperability.

    Keynote speakers included:

    HISP’s Dr Vincent Shaw on the ways that health information systems are developing in Africa Milani Wolmarans dealt with the South African government perspective of eHealth for better Systems for better health Dr Lynn Hanmer from the MRC examined partnerships as a significant factor in Health Information Systems Strengthening Ms Ineke Buskens explored gender issues in her presentation on a woman-friendly health information system Dr Peter Benjamin from HealthEnabled described recent developments using mHealth to eliminate mother  to child transmission of HIV/AIDS Dr Theo Lippeveld covered strengthening global systems Prof Jørn Braa from Oslo gave his perspectives on DHIS past, present and future The African Centre for eHealth Excellence (Acfee) chairperson, Dr Sean Broomhead, updated the conference on the Centre’s initiatives across the continent, including an update on the need for expanded capacity and capability on several eHealth themes, including regulation for better eHealth investment.

    The range of themes was considerable. It’s indicative of DHIS’s progress over 20 years.

  • HELINA conference starts on 7th March

    Health informatics isn’t new. Its history described by the Health Works Collective  is that the first professional informatics organisation started in 1949 by Dr Gustav Wagner. He called it the German Society for Medical Documentation, Computer Science and Statistics. From this beginning, its reach is now global, through organisations such as the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA).

    In 1993, Health Informatics in Africa (HELINA) was created. Its goal is to encourage African countries to develop their National Health Informatics Societies so they can qualify to participate in global health informatics by joining IMIA. National societies are automatically HELINA members.

    Now in its twelfth year, HELINA provides the main health informatics event for the continent. Its annual conference for 2014, postponed because of the Ebola outbreak, is 7 to 11 March 2015 at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) Conference Centre at the University of Ghana in Accra. It’s hosted jointly with the Ghana Health Informatics Association (GHIA).

    The sessions on Saturday and Sunday, 7 and 8 March, are tutorials. They’ll deal with:

    Big Data analytics and data mining Health information systems and interoperability, including Open-Source HIS A SNOMED CT A framework for HIS semantic Interoperability Developing health informatics education and training Education, the driving force and capacity builder for health Informatics’ future.

    It promises days of rich endeavour.

  • Some Consumer Electronics Show trends

    Gambling is probably the first thing that comes to mind about Las Vegas. It’s also “The sure way of getting nothing for something” as Wilson Mizner, the USA author thought. Investing in the future is a bit, sometimes a lot, of a gamble.

    If you’re like the eHNA team, and couldn’t go to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas from 6 to 9 January, the CES website sets out a wide range of ideas, developments and opportunities. Some of these are for health and healthcare, and show some of the themes that mHealth providers in Africa could pursue. To access some of these sites, you may need additional logins.

    Wearable Robots: From Healing to Enhancement: a review and assessment of robotic exoskeletons and their miraculous implications for the infirm. Are they a key to human enhancement? Are they the jeans of the future?

    Part 1 – Re-inventing the Doctor-Patient Relationship : a review of the ICT impact of providing access for  physicians and hospitals to new diagnostics tools and analytics to amplify their expertise and drive a new era of medicine.

    Part 2 – Re-inventing the Doctor-Patient Relationship : a review of ICT’s impact on the traditional patient-physician relationship that can help patients be better informed, in-charge, and more self-reliant.

    Prima-Temp unveils BLOOM: The Fertility Sensor that Allows Women to Take Control of Their Fertility: BLOOM is a precise, simple and discreet personal fertility sensor. It can continuously analyses core body temperatures to pinpoint when women are most fertile, then automatically sends alerts to their smartphones. BLOOM’s goal is to liberate women from the current, cumbersome methods of measuring fertility.

    Measuring Sleep with CEA and NSF: the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) have defined common performance requirements and core sleep metrics for wearable sleep monitors.

    Personalized Health to the Max is a review of the role of Big Data analytics and machine learning in transforming industries and its potential for health to understand, predict and advise our health at the individual level. It deals with personalising biometric medicine, diabetes, de-cluttering healthcare and algorithms.

    To Serve and Protect: Sleep, Sound and Sight: it deals with the convergence of high-science and ICT and their roles in protecting long-term health for the long-term. Its two themes are sleep science and eye care.

    Should Retail and Medical Get Hitched? It assesses the potential of digital health to create new alliances.

    How many of these will make it in Africa? As Wilson Mizner said, “The first hundred years are the hardest.” Thank you CES for your glimpse into a future.

  • eLearning Africa's 2015 event is Enriching Tomorrow

    Developing eHealth skills and knowledge in Africa will rely increasingly on eLearning. Enriching tomorrow’s the theme for eLearning Africa 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the African Union Conference Centre from 20 to 22 May. The deadline for the call for papers is 15 January 2015. These can be about the stories, experiences, research, thinking and expertise for ICT for development, education and training in Africa. eHealth’s part of it.

    The overarching question is; how ICT can be used to enhance knowledge, expertise and abilities relevant for tomorrow? It’s directly relevant for eHealth in Africa, and leads on to supplementary questions such as; how can quality education be provided, designed, implemented, supported and certified for Africa’s youth and Africa’s workforce?

    eLearning Africa 2015 is eLearning Africa’s tenth international conference on ICT for development, education and training. It aims to assemble decision makers and practitioners from education, business and government to discuss, share and act on topics such as access, openness, digital literacy, culture, the best ways of teaching, sustainability and best practices.

    The African Centre for eHealth Excellence (Acfee) is developing eLearning material for a range of eHealth topics. The release will start during 2015. It’s submitting a paper on these for eLearning Africa 2015. eHNA will report on its progress.

  • A new HELINA 2014 date is out

    The international conference ban in Ghana, as part of the measures to prevent Ebola outbreaks in the country, is lifted. It means that HELINA 2014 can have a new date. The Pan African Health Informatics Association (HELINA) and the Ghana Health Informatics Association (GHIA) has set it for 7 to 11 March 2015. The venue is the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)   Conference Centre  at the University of Ghana.

    Registration is open until 27 February 2015. Acceptance notifications from HELINA for submissions are scheduled for 9 January. More details are available from HELINA.

    It’s HELINA’s ninth conference. The theme is informatics for universal health coverage in Africa: from point of care systems to national strategies. The emphasis is on:

    Highlighting the role of health informatics Promoting the development and implementation of an African eHealth strategy alongside each country’s strategies, policies and architectures Showcasing health informatics best practices Translating research and innovations into better healthcare systems Fostering networks between African countries and eHealth initiatives Fostering health informatics research and education.

    These are wide ranging, ambitious and very relevant goals.

  • Samsung's digital health plans revealed

    Samsung gave the world a glimpse of their digital health plans at the Samsung Developer Conferencein San Francisco. The company also revealed the names of 24 partners it’s been working with.

    Samsung’s commercial partners for digital health currently include:

    Nike, Aetna, Cigna, ClevelandClinic, dacadoo, Edamam, Humana, Fitbug, Lark, Merck, Preventice, Skimble, WellDoc.

    Samsung’s research partners include:

    UCSF, imec, Bloom Technologies, EarlySense, Elfi Tech, Stanford University, LifeBeam, Sensifree, SleepRate, and uptick.

    Samsung took the opportunity to share more about its Digital Health Platform, the equivalent to Apple’s HealthKit. According to the company the platform “collects and integrates health information from consumer’s smartphones and other personal health devices… [and] the platform also provides easy to use features in a mobile dashboard to help make health improvement an engaging part of everyday life.”

    While the details of Samsung’s partnering model for each company’s still unknown, Samsung and WellDoc sent out a joint statement that shed some light on their “multi-stage collaboration effort.” By combining WellDoc’s mobile-enabled, prescribable and reimbursable diabetes management program, its BlueStar, with Samsung’s new Digital Health Platform, they believe their partnership will help people with type 2 diabetes. A post in MobiHealth News says the collaboration sees WellDoc and Samsung jointly exploring the “next generation diabetes devices and product offerings.”

    Samsung’s digital health journey promises excitement. eHNA looks forward to more eHealth and mHealth solutions emerging from these partnerships.

  • Med-e-Tel want abstracts for 2015

    The next Med-e-Tel conference, it’s 13th, is on 22 to 24 April 2015 in Luxembourg. It’s asking for submissions. A list of topics is at Med-e-Tel 2015’s call for abstracts. It’s emphasis is on practical experiences, evidence of telemedicine and telehealth outcomes, business cases, position papers, ongoing research, national and international policy guidelines and project results.

    The deadline for submitting your abstract is 22 December 2014. After that, the timetable up to the conference is:

    31 December 2014  Acceptances notified

    14 February 2015   Deadline for speaker registration and payment

    19 February 2015   Deadline for camera-ready submission of full text papers

    6 April 2015           Deadline for submitting PowerPoint presentations

    It’ll be good to see the advances since 2014 for Africa.

  • HELINA 2014 postponed due to Ebola

    Health Informatics in Africa (HELINA) and the Ghana Health Informatics Association (GHIA) have postponed the HELINA 2014 conference because of the Ebola outbreak in the region. Instead of 11-15 October, it’s now March 7-11 March, 2015. It complies with Ghana Government’s three month ban on all international conferences.

    The last date for submitting papers has been deferred too. It’s now 16 November 2014.

    WHO-Afro has regular updates on the outbreak.

  • Durban to host Global Telehealth conference and ICT4Health

    Durban has been a hub of telehealth for years, with Maurice Mars’ initiatives with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This year, Durban hosts Global Telehealth 2014 (GT2014), its third international conference. It’ll deal with the major trends in research and practice of all aspects of Telehealth.

    The event is in conjunction with the ICT4Health Conference 2014, also in Durban in November. It’s main theme is the eHealth challenge to integrate innovative scalable and sustainable solutions into health systems.

    Both events are requesting abstracts. The programme will be published later in the year. GT2014 intends to publish its accepted papers in a book format in the IOS Press series “Studies in Health Technology and Informatics” and indexed by Medline.

  • Morocco forum unlocks the potential of mobile health

    Health shares a category with the environment at this year’s Ministerial Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Morocco. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Summit Award (WSA) are launching the competition for the Special Africa Content Award in Mobile technology. There are 35 African countries competing.

    The event is a global initiative as part of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It selects best practices in interactive content from all UN member states. The WSA facilitates the competition to find innovative applications that address developmental challenges using mobile technology. One of the eight categories includes mEnvironment and mHealth, with an emphasis on:

    Healthcare needs of citizens and patients Supporting healthcare professionals Supporting healthcare providers Supporting the public Supporting policy makers Implementing client-centered models of healthcare.

    The forum is much more than health and many other topics have implications for health and healthcare, such as water resources management, energy and green growth, agriculture and food security, natural resources, climate change, youth, gender and education. An overarching goal is for stakeholders to work together using mobile technology to manage healthcare systems and important environmental matters that support greening of societies for sustainable development.

    The four-day forum is hosted by the Government of Morocco and organised by the AfDB and the Government of Finland. There’s a pre-forum is 14 October, two technical conference days 15 and 16 October, and a Ministerial Forum 17 October.