In a blog post from last spring I wrote about my new membership in the eHealth council, which belongs to the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden. I missed the first meetings due to teaching activities and bad health respectively, but last week I finally made it to my first meeting with the council. It was a very interesting experience. The council meets four times a year, so this was the last meeting 2017. The main focus seems to be on information structures and how to make sure that different county councils e.g. use the same terminology and systems. I will here present some of my experiences from the meeting, without going into too much detail since it doesn’t seem right to blog publicly about what was discussed.
As I have mentioned earlier, many different areas are represented in the council. I currently represent Uppsala University and more specifically “Education”. I don’t really get why that is my main topic, since a representative for “Research” would be just as valuable. Anyhow, coming from a university I represent both education and research and as a matter of fact everything I said during this particular meeting was related to research and possible collaborations with academia.
In the blog post linked above I list more of the roles/organizations that were represented in the council. I think the diversity is one of the strengths of the council – since both healthcare organizations, a few government agencies, healthcare professionals and even patients are represented you can make sure that all important parties are involved when discussing important topics related to e.g. the future of eHealth solutions and how information should be structured in a way that would work for everyone. There was one exception, though. No one in particular seemed to represent “Research”. One could argue that I represent that domain, as I mentioned above, but it is not explicitly stated anywhere. I think a connection to research is extremely important in a council like this.
Several different projects were presented and discussed and I really liked the focus on the user (most often healthcare professionals). In most presentations it was highlighted that healthcare professionals play an important role in projects and policy decisions related to eHealth. This is exactly how it should be!
My input during the meetings mostly concerned the importance of bringing researchers into the different projects. I even suggested research collaborations in some cases, but we will see what happens with that. Since the projects discussed in the council (at least for the moment) focus a lot on user involvement in design and decision processes, I really think HCI researchers can support the projects and at the same time conduct research that will inform future design and decision processes. After the meeting I also brought up Journalen (the patient accessible electronic health record system in Sweden), which is the focus of my own research. When it comes to differences between county councils we have some issues there, like e.g. that the amount of information visible to the patient varies greatly between county councils and that the rules on when to present information differs. This really caught some participants’ interest, so we can definitely expect Journalen to be a topic at a later meeting!
Last Sunday, I finally submitted an application for a position as associate professor in implementation research (didn’t have much of a choice since that was the last day to submit)! One positive outcome, apart from the obvious, is that I really had to think through what different roles I have and how I can make use of them. Since I have not written about all of them on this blog, I will list the different roles I came up with here (some of them will have follow-ups in more focused posts):
- Researcher in multimodal communication and interaction – I have already written about my thesis and quite a few other blog posts about haptics as an interaction modality. My main focus in this role has been to study how different modality combinations affect collaboration and communication in collaborative virtual environments
- E-health researcher – I have already written quite a lot about the studies I have been leading, regarding patient accessible electronic health records, since I stared my postdoc. What I have not yet written about is my earlier contact with healthcare – a quite intense collaboration with physicians at the Gastro department at Karolinska institutet during about two years of my doctoral studies. I will definitely write about that project later on.
- Pedagogical development researcher – A role I have not written that many posts about yet. During an extended period of time I e.g. took part in a study about Twitter use in a higher education course. I will come back to this when a paper has gone through the review process.
- Teacher – Another role I haven’t written that much about. My teaching has focused on written and verbal communication in engineering sciences, haptics and human-computer interaction. I will definitely come back with blog posts on this topic, especially when it comes to master’s thesis supervision – my favorite teacher role.
- Software developer – I have not written that much about this role either, since it was quite a while ago that I actually developed an application. My focus in this case has been on haptic interfaces and haptic collaborative functions.
- Member of eHealth council – This is the newest role, which I wrote a blog post about a while ago – I represent “Education” and “patients” in the eHealth council at the The National Board of Health and Welfare.
- Research network member – I have written about the DOME consortium several times, but I have not yet written about my participation in the “Nordic Network for ICT and Disabilities”, which specializes in assistive technology for people with deafblindness. I will introduce that network more thoroughly in its own blog post.
- Patient – I am a regular patient since more than a decade ago, and I have already used that in my own research on eHealth at e.g. conferences. This is why I add it as a “role” in this list. There will be plenty of blog posts from the patient’s perspective on this blog – that’s for sure!
- Blogger – No comment… 🙂
I might have missed a few roles, but I think these are the big ones at least for the moment. As I said earlier, not all these are relevant for the position in implementation research but I started thinking about all of them as I was writing the quite extensive application. Writing this type of application forces you to really think about what you have done and what types of roles you have taken, and I really found it rewarding to reflect on this.
Earlier when I had written these kinds of applications I let them rest in peace and just waited for the decision, but this time I’m not going to leave what I wrote behind me and just hope for the best. This time, I will try to transform my sketched research ideas into funding applications as soon as possible. There will surely be more posts about that process!
Yesterday, it was confirmed that I’m now, after being nominated by Åsa Cajander, the representative for “Education” on the council for eHealth and national information structure (e-hälsorådet) at the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in Sweden! The board is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social affairs, with a wide range of tasks related to health, patient safety, etc. Read more about the board here. When it comes to eHealth the board’s responsibilities are related to interdisciplinary terminology and development/management of the national information structure. These are the areas where the e-health council should give the board guidance.
The eHealth council consists of representatives from several different areas, like:
The area I will represent is education – the plan is that national information structure should be a topic taught at universities later on. I really hope I will get the chance to make significant contributions in this role (as I do in all my research 😉 )! I also hope that I will be able to make use my own research here and of the fact that I’m actually a patient who has quite a lot of experience with the health care system in Sweden. A patient’s perspective could be valuable in such a council. Let’s see what I can bring to the table! 😀