Innovative Uses of Technology to Improve Health for Poor and Vulnerable People to be Explored at Rockefeller Foundation Conference

Global Consensus and New Partnerships Sought to Improve Health Systems in

Developing Countries

Jun 02, 2008, 01:00 ET from The Rockefeller Foundation

    NEW YORK, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Accelerating innovative applications
 of emerging digital technologies to improve the health of poor and
 vulnerable people around the world -- a field known as eHealth -- will be
 the main topic of a major international conference hosted by the
 Rockefeller Foundation. The conference, Making the eHealth Connection:
 Global Partnerships, Local Solutions, will take place from July 13 to
 August 8, 2008.
     Working with twelve leading organizations from the fields of global
 health, international development, and information and communications
 technology (ICT), the Rockefeller Foundation and its partners will bring
 together luminaries from industry, government, and civil society as well as
 donors and researchers at its Bellagio Center in Italy. The action-oriented
 agenda will focus on how deploying eHealth and ICT in health systems can
 improve the access, efficiency and quality of health services. Importantly,
 the conference focus is on the Global South-developing countries-where
 health infrastructure and capacity challenges loom large and eHealth
 technology, a lynchpin in modern health care systems, is at a tipping
 point. The conference will set the stage for long-term sustainable
 collaboration in the eHealth field.
     "The emerging field of eHealth seeks to harness the power of ICT to
 strengthen health systems and help billions of people access affordable
 health care," said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation.
 "We believe that Making the eHealth Connection, this summer's conference at
 the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, can dramatically advance
 efforts to meet this critical challenge by building the necessary
 coalitions and resources."
     Participants at the month-long Making the eHealth Connection conference
 will engage in intense high-level discussions that aim to advance learning
 on new solutions, needed breakthroughs and scaling current barriers.
 Critical eHealth issues will be discussed in eight targeted conference
 sessions: The Path to Interoperability, Public Health Informatics and
 National Health Information systems, Access to Information and
 Knowledge-sharing, Capacity building for eHealth, Electronic Health
 Records, Mobile Health (mHealth) and Mobile Telemedicine, National eHealth
 Policies and Unlocking eHealth Markets.
     Two parallel sessions will take place each week, from July 13 to August
 8, 2008. The overarching goal of the conference is to develop support for
 workable solutions and to give new impetus for collaboratively funding,
 designing and deploying eHealth systems in the Global South and around the
     The Rockefeller Foundation has partnered with a number of leading
 institutions in order to organize the conference, including the American
 Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), International Medical Informatics
 Association (IMIA), Health Level Seven (HL7), Health Metrics Network (HMN),
 Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information
 (BIREME), Partners in Health (PIH), Regenstrief Institute, Telemedicine
 Society of India, United Nations Foundation (UNF), Vodafone Group
 Foundation Technology Partnership, University of Washington's Center for
 Public Health Informatics, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
     Tim Evans, MD, Assistant Director-General for Information, Evidence and
 Research at the World Health Organization (WHO), and a Making the eHealth
 Connection summer conference series organizer, said, "This event is an
 important landmark. It shows global commitment to eHealth's role in health
 systems, underscoring the World Health Assembly resolution on eHealth in
 2005, and is intended to support WHO's efforts to promote equitable access
 to essential care worldwide."
     Professor Krishnan Ganapathy, Founder Member and Joint Secretary of the
 Telemedicine Society of India, and one of the conference organizers, said,
 "The conference's focus on the nexus of eHealth and the Global South is
 notable. Given the rapid spread of mobile communications technologies, this
 conference should provide timely information to and learnings from several
 countries in the Global South, such as India, that have committed resources
 to developing and deploying eHealth technology, and are interested in
 learning how mobile technology and telemedicine are converging. Developing
 countries can now leap frog, not even piggy back. We hope this will
 illuminate a path for others to follow."
     "This effort comes at a critical moment," said Don E. Detmer, MD, MA,
 President and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA),
 and a conference organizer with the collaboration of the International
 Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). "As a long-time proponent of
 eHealth and informatics for improving care for patients and populations,
 this initiative offers a rare opportunity for us to share perspectives as
 we seek to integrate a set of complex requirements so that coordinated
 progress can occur across borders. We must effectively address our shared
 global health disease, capacity-building, and workforce challenges, most
 especially in the Global South. AMIA is delighted to be working with the
 Rockefeller Foundation on this sound initiative to bridge a significant
 global leadership gap."
     Making the eHealth Connection underscores the Rockefeller Foundation's
 commitment to unleashing human capacity and technological innovation to
 benefit poor and vulnerable people around the world. The conference extends
 the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center's tradition of bringing together
 people of diverse expertise and cultures in a neutral and thought-provoking
 environment to promote international understanding and encourage innovation
 and creativity.
     For more information on the Rockefeller Foundation's Making the eHealth
 Connection conference organizers, schedules and topics please visit the
 eHealth Connection at This interactive
 website -- a window into groundbreaking discussions and developments --
 contains vital conference information. During the conference, the website
 will feature frequent blog posts about conference proceedings, video clips
 and interviews with key event organizers and participants.
     The Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D.
 Rockefeller, Sr., to "promote the well-being" of humanity by addressing the
 root causes of serious problems. With assets of more than $4 billion, the
 Foundation supports work around the world to expand opportunities for poor
 or vulnerable people and to help ensure that globalization's benefits are
 more widely shared.
     For more information about the Rockefeller Foundation, please visit The
 Rockefeller Foundation at .

SOURCE The Rockefeller Foundation