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Information technology at the frontier of health care


Brigid Veale
18 August 2009
Using technology to improve health outcomes is the focus of a national conference which will bring together international experts in information technology, science and medicine.

The Health Informatics Conference is being held in Canberra from tomorrow (August 19) and is being chaired by Southern Cross University’s Professor of Information Technology and Information Systems Peter Croll.

“Information technology is revolutionising the way that health care is delivered. This conference brings together health professionals, including GPs, nurses and surgeons, and IT specialists to look at the challenges and opportunities this provides,” Professor Croll said.

“The requirement for rapid, secure and low cost distribution of information is at the heart of building our future health system. The National Broadband Network is a key piece of infrastructure that will enable this to happen, and that is just one of the topics that will be up for discussion.”

The theme of the conference is Frontiers of Health Informatics - Redefining Healthcare and the keynote speaker will be Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The conference has attracted a range of international speakers who will cover topics including genomics, personalised medicine, electronic health records, new models of healthcare delivery such as telecare, population monitoring and preventative health.

“Genomics is one of the rapidly evolving areas of informatics. Omid Moghadan from the Harvard Medical School’s Centre for Biomedical Informatics will be discussing the impact of advances in this area,” Professor Croll said.

Other keynote speakers include: Dr Laurence Clarke, branch chief for Imaging Technology Development Branch, National Cancer Institute at National Institute Health, USA; Peter Fleming, chief executive National E-Health Transition Authority; Bruce Friedman, active emeritus Professor of Pathology in the Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School; James Kavanagh, the lead architect for Microsoft Australia in working with public and private health care organisations; Lawrence Paratz, director and chief executive of Acacia Australia Pty Ltd; Dr Louise Ryan, chief of CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences; and Ronald Tompkins, Sumner M. Redstone Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School, the chief of the Burns Service of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the chief of staff of the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston.

The conference is being held at the National Convention Centre, Canberra, from August 19 to 21.

Photo: Professor Peter Croll is chairing the national Health Informatics Conference.