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Hundreds of researchers and practitioners from all around the world gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the “14th World Congress on Medical Health and Informatics” (MedInfo 2013). A triennial event, MedInfo provides both a high quality scientific exchange, as well as an opportunity for formal meetings and networking.

This particular edition, jointly hosted by the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) and one of its Member Societies, targetted at a thorough debate on conducting medical informatics by converging technologies, conveying sciences and connecting people. As Prof. Antoine Geissbuhler, MD, President of the IMIA, said: “It is about leaders of the community charting the way forwards in the current challenging seas, about understanding how to blend diverse and advanced tools and techniques to provide better science and better services, about acquiring, sharing and disseminating state of the art knowledge, and about fostering useful synergies between people through smart information systems”.

GNU Health and Free Software in the spotlight

Luis discussing Social medicine and GNU Health
Ferrer-Roca, Kobayashi, Safie, Falcon, Aljunid, 
Demski, Karopka and Lisby at MedInfo 2013 (Denmark)

Luis Falcon from our very own GNU Solidario, attended the congress to present the GNU Health platform during the Mini-Symposium “Care for the World. Collaboration, Openness, Transparency and Trust as Prerequisite for High Quality, Effective and Efficient Health Care

Hans Demski presenting Medfloss

Among the authors of this presentation were also Thomas Karopka, Syed Mohamed Aljunid, Nurhizam Safie, Hans Demski and Kjeld Lisby.

This mini-symposium portrayed two different methodologies to tackle the main Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) for health systems in the Global South: reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Both approaches aim to providing high-quality, efficient and effective health care through Free and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and Open & User Driven Innovation in a global context.

Paul Turner at eHealth for People Like Us workshop


Moreover, Falcon also participated in the workshop “Moving Beyond eHealth Systems for ‘People Like Us’”, along with Paul Turner, Andre Kushniruk, Pernille Bertelsen and Chris Showell. This interactive workshop was as much a scientific innovation as it was a humbling experience, allowing all attendees to experience the gap between some convoluted designs of eHealth systems and average or disadvantaged users. “People Like us” (PLU) is a thinking tool and a conceptualization of two archetypal categories of potential users: one group, highly skilled and motivated, and a second one, much less engaged with topics around health and healthcare. The different solutions offered at the end of the workshop resulted from collective thinking and diverse participation. 

Indicators from a roadmap towards high-quality healthcare

Pivot in MedInfo 2013 is to coalesce around key issues in facing the future of health and technology. For this reason, Luis Falcon, Thomas Karopka and other members of P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }A:link { }the Free Libre and Open Source Health Informatics Working Group (OSWG) of the IMIA agreed to generate a new system called “Common Health Indicator Reporting Interface”. This initiative brought together both experts and interested individuals from manifold areas of expertise to contribute in the potential application of open source solutions within their domains. Furthermore, the team at GNU Solidario confirmed that GNU Health would be incorporating this standard. P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }A:linkP { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }A:link { 
Thomas Karopka, Alvin Marcelo and Luis Falcon
Luis Falcon, Paul Turner and Thomas Karopka