EC to announce programme for IST'99 Conference and Exhibition in Helsinki

Helsinki 11 October 1999This year's Information Society Technologies Conference and Exhibition will take place from November 22nd to 24th at the Helsinki Fair Centre in Finland. A special session on "Health in the Information Society" has been scheduled on Wednesday from 2.15pm till 3.45pm. Health telematics topics will equally be discussed in Tuesday's session "Inclusive Information Society" starting at 1.15pm to 2.45pm. More details on past and future IST calls are offered in the last IST session on Wednesday, "Information Society technologies programme", from 4pm till 5.45pm. IST Participants can visit the exhibition permanently during conference hours.


The session on "Health in the Information Society" will bring together people involved in bringing about change in health care as a result of Information Society Technologies. The speakers are involved with telematics and health care industry, and basic research. These areas are in the process of introducing sophisticated professional tools for both clinicians and administrators, such as the Electronic Medical Record, decision support systems, human computer interface, Virtual Reality, simulation and sensors. The session will focus on brand new issues that will change everyone's life in the Information Society.

The different speakers will address the empowerment of the European citizen in personal health systems, home monitoring and care, as well as the doctor and patient co-operative environment, defined by new telemedicine services. The session will be chaired by Professor Juan Sancho from the Instituto Municipal de Investigaciòn Médica (IMIM), who will give a talk about "Health, Health Care, Well-being: a Tentative Vision". The other invited speakers are:

  • Mr. Clive Tristram (UK), Caspe Healthcare Knowledge Systems Ltd. on "The Responsibility: Infoethics"
  • Mr. José Cavanillas (E), SEMA Group - Service Management, Software Engineering Division on "The Telemedicine Shelf: Personal Health System and Home Monitoring and Care"
  • Ms. Carol A. Calta (P), Arthur Andersen Business Consulting on "The Doctor's Suitcase: Telemedicine Services and Co-operative Environment"
  • Mr. Pierre Dujols (F), Hôpital de Montpellier, Information Médicale on "The Virtual Hospital: Electronic Medical Record, Decision Support Systems, Human Computer Interface"
  • Dr. Thomas Mertelmeier (D), Siemens AG, Bereich medizinische Technik, Basic Research & Development on "Medical Imaging: The Visualised Human for Safe Diagnosis and Smart Therapy"

The Tuesday session about the "Inclusive Information Society" will focus on the problem of social exclusion and how to avoid it in a society based on the concept of a citizen who is active, motivated and technologically skilled. The information and communications technologies themselves might help to better involve specific groups of persons with disabilities, especially by the development of new communication tools and by the use of telematics to enhance experiences of social connection and interest.

Therefore, this session will have a dual scope. On one hand, it will highlight technologies and applications with good potential for improving quality of life by empowering older and disabled people. On the other hand, it will address the role of information technology as both a risk factor and a contributor to well-being and quality of life against the background of the challenge of developing effective and user-friendly applications in health and social sectors. In addition, the participants will discuss the progress of the European Mental Health Agenda, promoted by the Finnish Presidency in 1999.

The following projects, initiatives and perspectives will be presented and discussed:

  1. Telematics Applications Projects
    • TASC: Telematics Applications Supporting Cognition. This software is intended as decision support for persons with cognitive disabilities such as brain-damage or dementia. It enables these persons to cope with daily tasks, social interaction and the outside world with reduced need for assistance.
    • ALDICT: Access of Persons with Learning Difficulties to ICTs. The ALDICT software converts automatically between text and communication symbols. Combined with automatic translation and an e-mail module, it will enable persons with learning or intellectual disability to use electronic mail and communicate across language barriers.
    • MORE : MObile REscue GMS phone with localisation and emergency features, aims at integrating disabled and elderly people into the mobile information and communication society.
  2. Other European and large-scale efforts
    • The European Mental Health Agenda will highlight the potential role of information society technologies for more empowering services in many sectors of the society, including the promotion of mental health.
    • The activities of STAKES, the Finnish National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health: STAKES is the leading Finnish R&D agency for ICT in the health care and social sectors.

The session will be chaired by Dr. Eero Riikonen, Development Manager in the Rehabilitation Foundation and Co-ordinator of the European Inspiration Society Network, who will talk about the European Mental Health Agenda and the telematics of mental health promotion. He will also introduce the following speakers:

  • Mr. Gunnar Fagerberg (S), Senior Adviser at the Swedish Handicap Institute, President of the AAATE on "Telematic applications supporting cognition"
  • Dr. Geert Freyhoff (B), Project Manager of ILSMH European Association on "Access of persons with learning disability to Information and Communication Technologies"
  • Ms. Elizabeth Kampmann Hansen (DK), Deputy Director of the Danish Centre for Technical Aids for Rehabilitation and Education on "Making daily life easier for older persons: Providing information on assistive devices to older persons using new, multi-media applications"
  • Dr. Mauno Konttinen (FI), Deputy Director General at Stakes on "Towards seamless chains of care and cure"
  • Mrs. Kristiina Sunell (FI), Benefon, Western Europe and member of the MORE DE-3006 project team on "Freedom of mobility for all"
  • Mr. Artur Serra (S), Anthropologist, Co-ordinator of the Centre for Internet Applications, Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya on "Community networking and new community health care systems: Complementarities in the digital society".

The closing plenary session on Wednesday will look into the policy context and strategic orientations of the IST programme and will present an outlook on the future IST work programme. The speakers will explain how it came about and will address the consultation process with the actors in the IST field and also what it contains for the year 2000. Practical information will be provided about next year's calls for proposals. This final session is highly recommended for all those interested in participating in new projects, as well as for people interested in the thinking behind the IST programme, the relationships to policy making in general of the EU's R&D in information society technologies and the lessons learned over the years.

In this session, conference participants, representing the information society community, will be invited to contribute to the further advancement of the IST programme. Speakers will include:

  • Mr. Robert Verrue, Director General, Information Society Directorate, European Commission on "The European Union's policy in information society RTD: its broader context and its implications for RTD in 2000 and beyond"
  • Mr. G. Metakides on "Workprogramme preparation process"
  • Mr. A. Airaghi on "Orientations from the Information Society Technologies Advisory Group (ISTAG)"
  • Mr. G. Comyn on "WP 2000, the main orientations and changes with respect to WP 1999"
  • Mr. K. Rouhana on "Presentation of the year 2000 calls"
  • Mr. J. Bus on "Guidelines for Proposers"

A Questions and Answers round with the speakers and IST Directors on the results of past calls for proposals, the new workprogramme and the calls for proposals for the year 2000, as well as on the strategic orientations and impact of the IST programme, will close this session. For the complete IST conference and exhibition programme, you can visit the IST'99 Web site.

Leslie Versweyveld

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