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Medinfo 2001

Sept. 2-5 2001

A personal review by Rod Ward

The Medinfo 2001 conference is being held at the ExCel Centre in London Sept. 2-5 2001. This site contains my personal review and report, it is intended to help those unable to attend, but is not an official "proceedings". The official conference web site can be accessed at:

Day 3 - Wednesday Sept. 5th 2001

Bad traffic in the Blackwall tunnel meant we missed the first session arriving at approximately 09.30

Suggested principles of professional ethics for the on-line provision of mental health services - Bob Hsiung
This session set out some of the ethical issues around supporting mental health patients electronically, and touch on some of the advantages & disadvantages of on-line consultation for this patient group.
The power distance between users of information technology and experts and satisfaction with the information system : Implication for cross cultural transfer of IT - S. Isaacs
This paper pointed up some of difficulties of exporting IT from one culture to another. Power distance relates to the closeness (or otherwise) of the relationship between the leaders of a population and the general populace. It also relates to the scales of individualism - collectivism and gender differences. The power relationship between users and IT experts was also studied.
The next session I attended was in the Education & Training theme & chaired at short notice by Graham Wright & George Mihalas Graham wright
Eduardo Massad Training in Medical Informatics: Combining Onsite and On-line Instruction - Eduardo Massad
This paper presented work in Brazil to deliver medical Informatics education within the local faculty & using existing training from Boston. He set out the purposes of the programme.
Local courses are delivered in Portuguese & based on local expertise & practices. The on-line courses are modules from the US (Harvard/MIT) available via CD rom & the web, which are selected by local faculty & then applied to local circumstances. It is intended to deliver the courses to remote areas within the next few years. Students found they could apply most of the content to their own areas. The staff found that delivering these courses increased their workload - largely convincing people to try these methods.
For more see:
Comparing student attitudes to different models of the same virtual patients - Branco Cesnik
Branco described an Australian programme (by Margaret Bearman) using a virtual patient to look at communication skills using IT based simulation (but moving away from traditional Computer Based Training) & showed that narrative based learning was better than problem based. Interactive multimedia is combined with reflective questions and the students reactions
Branco Cesnik
Paul McCullagh Student-centered distance learning in Health and Medical Informatics - Paul McCullagh

This paper described a course developed in authorware, a joint project between Ulster & Erasmus universities. He started with an overview of current work in the area and tried to build on existing initiatives. The course used "Blackboard" &/or WedCT. A particular focus was in tools available to provide interactivity. Examples were shown of both designer & student screens.
Project-based teaching in health Informatics : a course on quality improvement in health - Jochen Moehr
This paper described a Canadian approach to similar problems to the previous speakers. The challenges were identified as how to achieve reality with simple methods - involving the integration of practice and education. They used project work & observation via a one way mirror and video of students practice which was then critiqued by their peers. The example shown involved the "reduction of musculo skeletal injuries in health care workers". Students liked the approach used.
Jochen Moehr

We were "conferenced out" but the Wednesday lunchtime so after packing up a our poster display we left before the closing ceremony to avoid the traffic.

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Disclaimer : These reports & pictures are being done "on the fly" during sessions, coffee breaks & over beers at the conference therefore errors are inevitable! I take full responsibility for these and if you spot any, or would like further information please contact me at:

Page Created: 1.9.01

Last Updated: 5.9.01