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IT forum tackles transforming health care

April 6, 2006

KALAMAZOO--U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow will be one of three keynote speakers at an information technology forum Monday, April 10, at Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center. Advanced registration is required for the forum, which will focus on how IT is transforming health care.

Michigan's junior senator, who serves on the U.S. Senate Health Care Task Force, will speak on "Challenges to Enhance Health Care through IT." Her talk is part of the fifth annual WMU-HCOB IT Forum presented by the Haworth College of Business, the WMU Department of Business Information Systems and the Computer Information Systems program.

The forum runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also will feature Frank Nauta, director of platform technology strategy for SAS Americas, and Robert Herr, senior manager of regulatory and quality standards in Pfizer Animal Health Business Technology. Nauta's presentation is titled "Grid Computing and Its Applications," while Herr will speak on "Are You Myth Informed?--Using IT to Achieve Compliant Systems."

Stabenow has been designated the "Champion for the Medically Underserved" by the Michigan Primary Care Association and "Distinguished Community Health Defender" by the National Association of Community Health Centers. She believes there is an urgency in the nation's health care crisis and is writing new health IT legislation to provide critical technology to hospitals and physicians in an effort to lower medical costs while providing quality health care.

In her talk, Stabenow will examine symptoms of the nation's health care crisis for both families and businesses. Critical issues include non-stop rising health care costs, more and more families facing uninsured challenges, inadequate support of prescription coverage, the debates and tug-off war between health care providers and the insurance agencies, and the lack of technology support in health care establishments. Stabenow's presentation is from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Nauta has been responsible for worldwide technical product management of data integration products and has been actively involved in business analytics and business intelligence. He has taught executive training classes at several major universities and colleges. He is a graduate of Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

Nauta will look at how, as corporations rapidly grow toward the global market, the necessity arises for new technologies that are capable of handling large-scale data integration, sophisticated business intelligence and data mining capabilities. As director of platform technology strategy, Nauta's responsibilities include the implementation of many large-scale projects that involve data integration, business intelligence and analytics across Fortune 1000 corporations in the Americas. Nauta will speak from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

In addition to his duties at Pfizer, Herr serves as a steering committee member for GAMP--Good Automated Manufacturing Practice--Americas. He has worked in many business areas, including manufacturing, quality assurance R&D, regulatory compliance and information technology operations and governance. He is implementing an IT risk management program, aligning IT resources with business risk.

Herr's presentation will focus on how, from an IT Risk Management perspective, IT control and compliance should target those IT-related aspects that could impact product quality and public health. His talk will expose some of the common myths related to the delivery and support of compliant IT systems in the life sciences industry and offer practical solutions for using risk management to speed delivery while still achieving compliance. Herr's talk is from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.

The forum also includes three panel discussions from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. on business process management, health informatics, and IT internship and recruiting. Student project award presentations will take place throughout the day.

For conference registration or other information, visit cis.hcob.wmich.edu/itforum or contact Cheri Edgar at (269) 387-5410.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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