Rio de Janeiro 20-25 June 2003

A personal review by Rod Ward


This is not the official conference web site which can be found at:

As ever with these reports it is being written on a daily(ish) basis & uploaded to the web whenever I can get a connection. There are a personal comments (written during lunch breaks etc.), not an academic review or journal report & should be read in that manner, and it should be recognised that I can only report on the bits I managed to attend.

On the Friday morning (June 20) I attended a pre conference tutorial by Peter Murray & Graham Wright on "Open Source and its implications for nursing". They started with lots of "who's who" & apologised that some of their slides had been "thrown off" by being created in open office & then converted into powerpoint for the projection at the conference venue.

A variety of definitions of terminology around; open source software (OSS), free software, linux and GNU were drawn fro the audience, discussed & then "official" definitions displayed in this still emerging area. The considered the differences between software development between "amateurs" where it is tested & refined by many and that by "professionals" & tested by a few and the implications of this for quality. They went on to explore why OSS is now taking a significant market share, including in government sectors, and some of the social and ownership issues which go along with the paradigm shift which is signified by the Open Source movement.

After a coffee break they gave examples of common applications including "Open Office", GIMP (an image manipulation programme) & Mozilla (web browser) - these were also provided on a CD for delegates along with the presentation and moved on to consider installation & interoperability issues before focussing on healthcare applications; e.g. and EU projects such as; SMARTIE ( a repository for decision support tools), OPEN EHR (an example of international collaboration & influencing government strategy), SPIRIT

A further history lesson was given about FIDONET, and it was shown how modern developments such as myGRID had arisen from it. The focus was then on the NHS and its complexity and how open source solutions are being used e.g. GALEN in prodigy.

Delegates were encouraged to visit: and

The full presentation is available from:

Peter Murray
Dr. Peter Murray
Graham Wright
Prof. Graham Wright pointing out where the UK is!

SNOMED presentersOn the second day I attended a workshop on SNOMED Convergent Terminology Group for Nursing as SNOMED CT is to be adopted in the UK. This was presented by Deborah Konieck and her team who described this Systemised Nomenclature from the College of American Pathologists. They described the licencing system and ways of adding new terms before going on to explore interface and reference properties and giving examples of terms and applications. They provided some explanation of the modelling processes and mapping terms to and from NIC, NOC, NANDA etc and developments with world wide standards bodies such as CEN & ISO.

An interesting development was the use by Reuters News Agency of SNOMED classification of their news items. The final part of the presentation was from Kaiser Permanente (a US HMO) showing the screens used for data entry and pathway inclusion. They provide "smart phrases and drop down text boxes to enhance standardisation of record keeping and reduce the time involved in data entry. Further information is available from

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Page Created: 18.6.03

Last Updated: 23.7.03