• Events
  • 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.

  • Sedick Isaacs Award seeks nominations

    Prof Sedick Isaacs was a founder member of the South African Medical Informatics Group, later the South African Health Informatics Association (SAHIA). He was SAHIA President, and President of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Health Informatics in Africa (HELINA) region.

    He was an anti-apartheid activist, member of the African National Congress, and imprisoned on Robben Island for 13 years. His ingenuity resulted in notoriety with officials when he was found in possession of a key that he’d fashioned to fit all the locks in the prison. I remember him most though for unlocking knowledge and for igniting a passion for health informatics with his fierce, dry humour and poignant anecdotes.

    It’s time for the 2014 nominations for the Sedick Isaacs Award. It recognises the lasting contribution to health and medical informatics in Africa by Dr Isaacs. The (IMIA) funds the award and administers it jointly with HELINA. The primary criterion for a Sedick Isaacs Award is to recognise “an individual whose personal commitment and dedication to medical informatics has made a lasting contribution to medicine and healthcare within Africa, through her or his achievements in research, education, development or application in the field of medical informatics.” The secondary criterion is that the person receiving the Award should live and work in Africa.

    The Award presentation is at the HELINA2014 conference in Accra, Ghana on 11-15 October 2014. The winner will have an opportunity to make a keynote presentation at a plenary of the HELINA conference. The Journal of Health Informatics in Africa will publish a version of the presentation.

    The Award does not have a monetary value, but IMIA will cover travel costs within Africa to the HELINA2014 conference. It will also pay for up to three nights’ accommodation at the conference.

    Nominations should be sent to the IMIA Office by email: imia@imia-services.org no later than 15 August, 2014.

    Sedick Isaacs image from International Film Festival of India.

  • Ugandan conference calls for more women in ICT

    Is it just me, or are the crowds of faces at African ICT events decidedly male? The question of gender inequality in ICTs in Africa generated intensive debate during the 9th eLeaning Conference in Kampala, Uganda last month.

    Uganda, like many African countries, is anxious to utilise ICT as a platform to achieve sustainable growth. It’s also keen to address gender equality in the ICT sector. A key theme at the conference from 28-30 May was interventions that would empower women in the ICT sector to help close the inequality gap.

    Goretti Amuriat from Women of Uganda Network explained that transforming education to become more learner-centred would help. “Girls need to be motivated to think critically in order for them to become innovative” she said. She believes that eLearning is a good place to start, since it can be flexible to the different needs, abilities and interests of learners regardless of their gender.

    eLearning is a big topic, and the critical shortage of ICT skills in Africa may be the first hurdle for eLearning to cross. Leaders like Amuriat will be helpful in at least two ways: to move eLearning forward and to ensure that before too long, conference crowds have a more feminine face.

  • Free ICT event for some

    It’s not often a free event comes along. On 2-3 April 2014, African Information Technology Exhibitions and Conferences (AITEC) hosts its Southern Africa ICT Summit in Maputo, Mozambique. It’s a conference and exhibition, and extends well beyond a healthcare focus. ICT professionals based in Southern Africa, which seems to be the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, can attend free. For a conference pass, apply by emailing your name, job title, company, mobile and email address to info@aitecafrica.com  , and enter “Mozambique VIP delegate pass” in the subject bar. More information about the event and AITEC is available from http://aitecafrica.com/.

  • Cyber-security conference in Kenya

    With cyber-security’s rampant rise up the list of ICT priorities, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) ICT Security Africa has its fourth summit and roundtable on 8 to 11 April in Mombasa, Kenya. MIS Training, the global ICT security training firm, is behind the initiative.

    The theme is Integrated Security to Protect Information and Technology Assets in Business and Government. The programme includes:

    Cyber Crime Africa Threat Landscape and Security Intelligence Information  Security Risk and Governance Africa ICT Security Africa Think Tank – Cyber Attack – Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared on the Anatomy of a Security Breach: A Response Guide for Africa Big 3 – Cloud, Big Data, Social Networking Network and Application Security FinSec – Cyber Security for Banks Interactive Benchmarking Clinics – Developing Information Security Professionals in Africa ICT Security Africa Roundtable Digital Forensics and Investigations Clinic

    Registration is open and MIS Training’s secured site.

  • Northern lights, Southern glow

    Last week I was surrounded by ice and snow at the Arctic Light eHealth Conference (ALEC) in Kiruna, Sweden. This included a visit to the Ice Hotel, possibly one of the least African places on earth, renewable architecture in its purest form, rebuilt every autumn to melt down completely every spring. So, I was a little surprised when issues encountered daily in my African eHealth work – trust, privacy, organisational change, patient participation and leadership – were the hot topics at this eHealth conference in Europe’s icy arctic north.

    Of course I shouldn’t have been surprised. These are key topics for all eHealth initiatives, through the full decade-plus cycle from inception to full-scale implementation and ultimately reinvestment and renewal. When handled well, they are success criteria, as shown by tinTree’s economic evaluation model that analyses common success factors across 59 initiatives in 26 countries. They support progress of more conventional topics such as interoperability, affordability, security and regulatory readiness providing support or, when absent, stalling progress.

    “eHealth is possible!” said ALEC host Agneta Granström, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) e-He@lth Network President and County Commissioner of Norrbotten. “It does provide more comfort, safety and a better link with caregivers. Now we need regional decision-makers to keep this momentum and engage in dialogue both within their regions and at interregional and national level to roll out e-health.”

    ALEC welcomed a who’s-who of European eHealth enthusiasts, mixed with unique local flavour of a thriving mining town and proud Sami community. Participants agreed that ICT innovations have provided enormous opportunities so that technology is no longer the key issue. People are, and the way they organise themselves. “The key issue is trust” said Estonia’s president Toomas Hendrik Ilves in his opening address. “Improving Healthcare is not about technology but about how we use information”.

    AER President Hande Özsan Bozatli echoed the sentiment in a closing address appropriate for most African eHealth implementers. “E-health is not [only] about technology” she said, “but about empowering the patients and generating more social and territorial cohesion.” 

    This week I’m back under the African sun. It’s warm, of course. So is the sense that a number of African countries are on track, dealing with the important issues necessary to make progress and well positioned to share lessons learned with colleagues globally.

    Read more about ALEC on twitter #ALEC and #ALEC2014.