Cybermedicine and telemedicine shake hands in Heidelberg at MedNet'99

Heidelberg 21 September 1999The Fourth World Congress on the Internet and Medicine, briefly referred to as the MedNet'99 Conference, for the first time has left the United Kingdom to be held in Germany from September 19th to 21st. The major event covered the whole spectrum of cybermedicine for health care consumers and telemedicine for health care providers, distributed over three international tracks. Education and training; Internet publishing and commercial portals; and a wide variety of telemedicine and clinical applications were introduced by expert speakers from the five continents.


Nearly 350 attendants were welcomed in the conference rooms of the Communication Centre at the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. The organising committee from the Departments of Clinical Social Medicine and Medical Informatics of the local University and Hospital, consisted of Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, Dr. Thomas Diepgen, and Dr. Reinhold Haux. Dr. Stephen Keevil, their colleague from the United Kingdom, received the honour to open the scientific congress part on Sunday morning.

Famous key-note speakers from Canada and the United States were invited to each introduce one of the three-day sessions. These presentations came from Dr. Alejandro Jadad from McMaster University in Canada on Internet consumerism; Dr. Ted Shortliffe from Stanford University on future Internet developments and their impact on health care; and Dr. Ron LaPorte from Pittsburgh University on global health network education. In between the different sessions, the congress visitors were expected in the lobby where they could choose among 30 poster sessions to be viewed.

MedNet'99 also included six different workshops with the following themes: the set-up of a Web site for health care consumers; the management of a Web site for clinical departments and scientific societies; Internet within the developing and emerging countries; store-and-forward telemedicine through the Internet; electronic publishing on the Web; and regional to global medical image communication. The three tracks surveying the professional training and medical education, the cybermedicine, and the clinical information and telemedicine sessions each consisted of a number of 15 minutes specialist talks. As a result, a very broad area of research, development and practice could be covered.

The MedNet'99 staff was proud to already announce the next and Fifth World Congress on the Internet and Medicine. The MedNet 2000 Conference will be held from November 23rd to 26th 2000 in Brussels, Belgium, at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Free University. Next year's central theme has been titled "Real world medical applications". Abstracts can be submitted electronically from now on at Deadline for submission is June 30th 2000. People who want to look back at this year's MedNet'99 are kindly invited to read the October issue of the VMW Magazine or to visit the MedNet'99 home page.

Leslie Versweyveld

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