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Health care, technology under microscope at WMU conference

by Mark Schwerin

Oct. 19, 2011 | WMU News

KALAMAZOO--Health care and information technology professionals, consumers, educators and researchers from across the country will gather for the First International Conference on Health Information Technology Advancement at Western Michigan University.

With the theme "Repositioning Health Care through Relationships and Health Information Technology Advancement--Let's Make a Difference!" the conference runs from 7:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in the Fetzer Center. It will examine critical issues and opportunities in health care and how they can be addressed through building relationships and the infusion of health information technologies.

The deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 21.

The daylong conference will feature internationally known scholars and practitioners, including keynote speakers Dr. Nancy Ridenour, dean and professor at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing; Dr. Joseph Tan, professor of eHealth Informatics at McMaster University; and Pamela Hash, director of clinical education and professional development at Bon Secours Health System, Inc. in Marriottsville, Md. Dr. Hal Jenson, founding dean of the WMU School of Medicine, also will make a special presentation.

Ridenour chairs the Health Sciences Center Health Care Reform Legislative Task Force, is an advisor to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and is a fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Center University of New Mexico. She will address "Technology and the Transformation of Health Care" at 8:15 a.m.

In her talk, Ridenour will explore the health policy, education, practice and research implications of the role of technology in the transformation of health care. Ridenour will frame her discussion around the triple aim of increasing access to care, improving quality outcomes of care and decreasing costs or at a minimum flattening the escalating cost curve.

Tan specializes in the innovative design, implementation and diffusion of advancing e‐technology to improve health services delivery systems. His research interests cut across multiple disciplines, with emphasis on the application of strategic e‐business and e‐health models to improve health systems operational efficiencies, individual or group decision effectiveness and community health behaviors.

The title of Tan's 9 a.m. presentation is "Impact of Health IT on Relationship-Based Care," in which he will take a closer look at how the paradigm of health care is moving from institutional-based to patient-based care. Tan will explore how health IT impacts both decision making and relationships.

Hash provides leadership to identify and develop learning activities and professional development opportunities to ensure state-of-the-art practice among all classifications of care‐givers in nursing services across the enterprise. Her talk, titled "Connecting Caring Science, Professional Nursing Practice and Technology at the Point of Care," begins at 11:10 a.m.

Before joining WMU, Jenson was dean of the Western Campus at Tufts University School of Medicine. He has conducted basic clinical research in pediatric infectious diseases and clinical aspects of infections and cancers associated with Epstein-Bar virus and human herpes virus type 8.

Jenson will speak at 11:55 a.m. on "The Future of Medical Education," in which he will observe how a new medical school at WMU provides a rare opportunity to design a curriculum to better meet toady's and tomorrow's needs for the nation.

In a number of other special presentations and workshops, health IT experts from across the nation will address risk assessment issues in health care reform, health information systems and relationship-centered care in West China, improving interactions between physicians and patients using health information technology, pharmaceutical industry research strategies transforming medical care and more.

The conference is being organized by the WMU Center for Health Information Technology Advancement and the Relationship-Centered Care Network at Southwest Michigan.

"We're excited that this event will help us build the strong relationships needed to tackle the issues and opportunities that exist today in health care," says Dr. Bernard Han, CHITA director. "The conference will identify new, multifaceted roles for the consumer, health care provider and information technology professional in the health care space augmented by health information technology."

For more information or to register, go to