Edmonton, 28 January 2016
On January 28, 2016, the GCCIR hosted the Alberta-Germany eHealth Symposium, organized in cooperation with the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) in New York. The symposium brought together experts from Germany and Western Canada and took place in the University of Alberta’s Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, with approximately 100 participants from government, academia, and industry.
The symposium featured words of welcome by Bernd Reuscher, President of the GCCIR, and Dr. Joann Halpern, Director of the GCRI), followed by opening remarks from Alberta’s Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Carl Amrhein, and a short introduction to eHealth in Alberta by Ms. Penny Rae, Chief Information Officer at Alberta Health Services.
The invited keynote speaker Dr. Jörg Caumanns, Director of the Competence Centre eHealth at the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems in Berlin, critically examined the obstacles being faced in the eHealth sector in Germany. Following Dr. Caumanns talk three panel discussions took place featuring experts, policy makers, academics, and practitioners from Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Germany. The panels focused on the topics of electronic medical records, data security, and telemedicine, respectively. One of the highlights of the symposium was the live conference with Dr. Eberhard Kohlberg, who was stationed at the German Research Station in Antarctica at that time. He presented on the practice of telemedicine in such a remote area and the technical challenges related to restrictions with bandwidth.
During the discussions, the panelists agreed that Alberta and Germany face similar challenges regarding eHealth. The symposium proved to be a great platform for discussing recent developments, sharing information, and learning from one another’s experiences.