A few weeks ago I participated in the EHiN (EHealth in Norway) 2016 conference in Oslo. The conference was held in parallel with the European Telemedicine Conference at Oslo Spektrum. This was the first time I had participated in an eHealth related conference and it was a very interesting experience, both regarding activities and the conference venue. I have already published a blog post about the one-day workshop I was one of the organizers behind, so I will focus on the rest of the conference here.
There were several tracks during this conference – there were often seven rooms that were used in parallel and most probably over 1000 participants. The “heart” of the conference venue was the big expo area shown in the picture above. From there you could easily reach all rooms, where presentations were held, which were spread around the big open area. The opening keynotes were also held in the expo area on the big stage in the middle of the room. I must say that this was the most spectacular conference venue I have ever seen!
Apart from tracks relating to eHealth and telemedicine in practice, there was also a so called “scientific track”. During two of the sessions in the scientific track Kristina Groth, a research colleague from KTH during my time as a Ph.D. student, presented findings from telemedicine projects she has been working with. I will write more about our joint work within an earlier medical project later on. Overall, I the found content of the sessions I followed very interesting and some themes really stood out.
One interesting theme was solutions for transmitting health data from the ambulance to the hospital so that medical staff could be prepared to take necessary actions directly when a patient arrives at the hospital. The current systems in ambulances (in many countries) are not very compatible with the systems at the hospitals which means that often a thorough examination must take place at the time a patient arrives to the hospital. This can be very problematic for e.g. stroke patients. One of the presentations related to this theme showed that a solution currently tested, transmitting vital values from an ambulance to a hospital, could shorten the time before a treatment can begin by 30 minutes!
Another interesting theme was the one of gamification in health care. Several examples were given showing that e.g. games could help in rehabilitation and help children with special needs. Especially when it comes to rehabilitation of neurological injuries it was made very clear that games had a real potential. Among other things, injured persons did not think so much about e.g. pain when playing games which required movements necessary to train the injured parts. This, in turn shortened the time needed for rehabilitation. Exercising by throwing darts or playing virtual tennis was also considered to be funnier than to just perform “regular” exercises. No surprises there! 🙂
Other interesting themes were telemedicine solutions for communicating with patients in their homes (Kristina Groth’s presentations) and eHealth solutions that enable self-care at home. Overall, it became clear from this conference that the eHealth field is very much evolving, coming up with solutions that will definitely make life easier for many people. I’m very glad that I can be a part of this research field!