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e-Health 2008 conference: Extending the Reach

VANCOUVER – Organizers of the annual e-Health conference are gearing up for the next meeting, which will be held in British Columbia’s largest city, May 4-7.

The conference is co-hosted by COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association, and CIHI (the Canadian Institute for Health Information). For details about the agenda, including keynote addresses and educational sessions, please see the conference website at

(Pictured are CIHI President and CEO Glenda Yeates, and COACH President Shelagh Maloney.)

In addition to the conference program, e-Health also hosts a trade show, where topflight corporations and entrepreneurial companies discuss what their e-health systems can do for care providers and patients.

Conference organizers expect the theme of this year’s conference, “Extending the Reach,” will capture the interest and enthusiasm of attendees.

To be sure, stakeholders across the healthcare system are in the midst of ‘extending the reach’ of major information and technology services.

All healthcare providers – physicians, hospitals, community health centres, public health, regions, provinces and territories – are attempting to build links to each other and to important services, like registries, diagnostic, lab and drug repositories, and clinical decision support systems.

Representatives from every level attend e-Health searching for solutions, and seeking context and information. Appealing to a diverse audience is only one way in which the 2008 e-Health cConference is ‘extending the reach’. Key enablers of the conference theme also include:

Executive Forum – Global Issues/Global Opportunities

This invitation only pre-conference event is aimed at senior executives. The forum will examine how lessons learned in implementations abroad can be turned into opportunities for Canadian healthcare. A highly interactive session is planned with opportunities for discussions with international panellists such as Richard Granger (UK), Ian Reineke (Australia) and Canada’s own Richard Alvarez.

Because the forum attendees will be experts and leaders in their own right, the session will also allow for interaction and discussion among the attendees themselves. Post-conference, the key issues and opportunities discussed at the forum will be summarized and available to all conference-goers – thereby “extending the reach” of the forum itself.

e-Health Interoperability Showcase

Last year’s e-Health Interoperability Showcase (the first such event in Canada) brought vendors from across North America together to show how their systems could interoperate. The 2008 Showcase will build on last year’s success by:

• Continuing to demonstrate the value of standards-based interoperability in support of a pan-Canadian electronic health record

• Including a broader scope of IHE integration profiles in the showcase

• Promoting greater participation of vendors, both at the showcase booth, as well as through our new “distributed showcase,” allowing vendors to participate from their own booths.

• Providing a wider variety of presentations at the Showcase Theatre and more opportunities for visitors to tour the Showcase

Conference Program Themes and Tracks

The number of conference tracks has increased for 2008. One interesting new track is “School of Hard Knocks” – submitters were encouraged to provide abstracts that addressed, highlighted and even celebrated those difficulties and outright failures that have ultimately led to greater project success. The “Engaging the Public” track will focus on how we can all “extend the reach” of e-Health.

Once again, the number of abstracts submitted for consideration at this year’s e-Health Conference was almost overwhelming – in terms of quality and quantity. The Program Committee has worked hard to ensure that this year’s “chosen few” will truly reflect the theme of this year’s conference. As a reflection of the quality of the abstracts submitted in past years, more space was made available in this year’s program for more presentations.

Keynote Speakers

The calibre of keynote speakers at this year’s conference is again high: Dr. Bill Crounse with Microsoft and Mike Lipkin, world renowned communicator and motivator, are both highly respected speakers who have addressed a wide variety of audiences across the world. The keynote addresses promise to entertain, inform and educate – while providing different perspectives on our industry and perhaps even ourselves.

Weaving it All Together

The abovementioned elements are only a few ways that conference organizers are planning on “extending the reach” of this year’s event. Whatever your interests or objectives in attending, the 2008 e-Health Conference promises to have something for you.

See you in Vancouver!