The theme of MIE2012 is ‘Quality of Life through Quality of Information’. The importance of Information towards Quality of Health Care and Quality of Life is highlighted across the current proceedings. The 24th Medical Informatics in Europe Conference (MIE2012) has been organised by the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) with the collaboration of the Italian Medical Informatics Association (AIIM) and the Italian e-health Community, and takes place in the historical city of Pisa, Italy from 26th to 29th of August, 2012.
EFMI is a federation of national medical informatics associations from 32 European countries, and its purpose is to develop and disseminate knowledge and expertise in the field of biomedical and health informatics. Besides the national associations, the working groups, which include experts in specialist fields ranging from electronic patient records, medical imaging, and evaluation to nursing and rehabilitation, are the main channel through which new knowledge and ideas are developed and disseminated. Because EFMI understands the role which application and implementation plays, a third pillar has been introduced to the federation, that of the Institutional Members, such as industries, academic institutions and organisations.
The conference is being held in Pisa, a city well known not only for its famous leaning tower, but also as the birthplace of Galileo Galilei, who some consider to be the father of modern science. He was responsible for introducing the notion of experimental proof into scientific research. It is this approach which is, without any doubt, crucial to our research in medical informatics. We need evidence before we can apply our knowledge to health care; evidence-based medicine needs quality information in order to lead to quality of health, and thus to quality of life.
The conference focuses on the role of e-health in pursuing benefits in terms of quality of life for patients, health-care personnel, citizens and society. The topic can be analysed from many points of view, and MIE2012 provides a unique platform for the fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences among the actors and stakeholders of ICT supported healthcare. Both methodologies and examples of applications form the basis for the discussion, and all of us will learn, not only from success stories in the field, but also from failures. The opinion and experiences of the designers and planners, as well as those of users, are of great importance when the target is the global improvement of quality of life, at both personal and public level. For this reason we encourage health professionals, policy makers and also patients and citizens' associations to take an active part in the conference and share their knowledge.
The present volume incorporates contributions related to the latest achievements in biomedical and health informatics in terms of major challenges such as interoperability, collaboration, coordination, and increasingly, patient oriented health care at the most appropriate level of care. The papers also provide new perspectives for the future of biomedical and health informatics, critical appraisals of strategies for user involvement, insights for design, deployment, and sustainable use of electronic health records, standards, social software, citizen centred e-health, and new challenges in rehabilitation and social care informatics, where health professionals collaborate in teams with colleagues and with their patients.
MIE2012 also introduces the ‘Village of the Future’; a vibrant agora where national, regional and European projects, as well as other initiatives, present, demonstrate, discuss and share ideas and innovations in the ‘eLounge’, creating new coalitions for the future. The village provides an opportunity to get involved in presentations, demonstrations, and living poster and collaborative sessions. The village is open to all ‘citizens’, with a focus on the younger generation, who can present new initiatives and results. In particular, presentations will be based on technologies such as the semantic web, social media and web 2.0/3.0, which contribute to new ways of delivering health-care and facilitating a higher quality of life for citizens, patients and health professionals alike. The presentations form part of the electronic version of the proceedings, and are not included in the current volume.
The Scientific Programme Committee of MIE2012 received 449 submissions. The selection process presented a major challenge for the SPC. Almost all submissions were reviewed by three reviewers. The reviews were accompanied by suggestions and advice for possible improvements to the contribution. In case of conflicting opinions, the SPC appointed additional reviewers. We are indebted to the 205 colleagues who volunteered their time and energy to be involved in this peer review processes, which necessitated 1,077 individual reviews. The reviewers are listed in the appendix as a token of our appreciation for their effort and dedication.
The programme for MIE2012 consists of 206 oral presentations of full papers, 48 posters, 25 short communication oral presentations, 26 short communication posters, 11 workshops, 2 EFMI WG workshops, 6 tutorials, and 2 panels. It is encouraging that so many of the submissions are from young researchers, and we are pleased that MIE2012 provides an arena where they can begin to exchange their ideas and findings with their peers. Furthermore, MIE2012 hosts an application oriented track, the ‘Village of the Future’, where EFMI institutional members and corporate affiliates can discuss pressing issues and innovations headed for the market, and where the latter will also be demonstrated.
Most of the topics presented at MIE2012 are interdisciplinary in nature and of interest to a variety of professionals: physicians, nurses, and allied health providers, health informaticians, engineers, academics and representatives from industry and consultancy in the various fields. This European conference commands an international audience, gathering participants from most parts of the world. This is reflected by the nationalities of the 1,016 contributing authors, originating from 43 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as South and North America.
Conference proceedings consist of a printed version and an electronic version, and are considered to be an integral part of MIE2012. The printed version includes full papers accepted for presentation as well as posters, and all are indexed in Medline. The CD version of the proceedings includes the full papers, posters, short communications, workshops, tutorials, panels, and a synopsis of the ‘Village of the Future’. The CD is an EFMI publication, which will also be available online at www.EFMI.org after a period agreed with the publisher.
We are grateful to the colleagues who served as members of the executive SPC, and to the affiliate, Dr. Dimitrios Zikos. We would also like to express our thanks to Drs. Jacob Hofdijk and Dr. Christian Lovis for coordinating the ‘Village of the Future’. Thanks also to Professor Jana Zvarova for chairing the subcommittee for workshop and panel selection. Finally, we take this opportunity to thank the members of the award committees for the Peter Reichertz Prize, awarded for the best paper by a young scientist; the Rolf Hansen Prize for the best paper on a clinical information system; and the poster prize for the best poster.
Stig Kjær Andersen
Maria Cristina Mazzoleni