After a successful MEDINFO in 1992, the Swiss Society for Medical Informatics hosts again a major event in medical informatics – the 19th Medical Informatics Europe Conference, under the generic name of MIE2005. The host city, Geneva, is well known for its commitment in international healthcare, being the residence of several international organisations, including WHO. Geneva is also synonym with other major medical informatics achievements: the DIOGENE hospital information system and Natural Language Processing, both strongly connected to Geneva and its University Hospital.
The motto of the conference, "Connecting Medical Informatics and Bio-Informatics" emphasizes the convergence of these disciplines, illustrated by the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, also founded in Geneva, and home of the SwissProt database. It also reflects the growing role of the co-operation of different disciplines in healthcare, co-operation which tends to become integration.
The major challenge of this decade is to develop and extend the use of information technology for the improvement of patient oriented health care. It has to integrate results from other areas and scientific disciplines, and interoperability will be the key problem to be solved. All these trends were already reflected in MIE2005 submissions and addressed a large palette of topics, including classical topics as standards, terminology, coding, imaging etc.
The selection process was a difficult task for the Scientific Program Committee. We kept the scientific quality as the major determinant criterion for selection. There were over 300 submitted papers to be presented orally or as poster. A score was given by 2 and more reviewers selected from a panel of more than 160 experts. The reviews were accompanied by suggestions and advice about possible improvements of the submitted paper. The type of presentation was sometimes modified from oral presentation to a short oral presentation combined with a poster or just a poster for detailed presentation and deep discussion. In a second step, when creating the scientific programme, there were a few modifications of the presentation type, mainly due to the limited time slots available for oral presentations. The result of SPC activity is reflected by the Conference programme and the Proceedings.
The printed version has limited pages and therefore limited numbers of papers of all types of presentations (oral and poster presentations) which are most qualified. It will be cited in Medline. The full content was proposed for the CD version of the proceedings; it is an EFMI publication and contains all accepted papers in the revised version and also the workshops. This way of publishing enables searching keywords, the title and the full content.
Workshops were offered to the participants like in previous MIEs, organised or supported by EFMI working groups. A clearer distinction between presentations in workshops and presentations in scientific sessions was aimed: while a pure scientific paper presents results in a classical manner, a workshop paper would rather present and comment unfulfillments or raise questions. The workshop procedure comprises a brief introduction (usually invited), followed by several short statements or presentations. The major output is expected from discussions. The results which might be achieved will be published after MIE2005 separately. All documents, (material from the workshops) available at publishing time will be included on the CD proceedings. We plan to make it also available on the EFMI web site by the moment of this material publication.
We shall also mention that the call for tutorials resulted in a set of high ranked contributions, included in the "scientific workflow" of each MIE conference. They will provide basics and deep insight into certain disciplines and topics related to medical informatics. It may help to develop a better understanding of some presentations and workshops during MIE2005. In this context tutorials are a substantial part and the material developed should be available to a broader community.
The proceedings are an integrated part of MIE2005. We would like to thank all those who have made the printed volume and the CD possible, the authors, the scientific programme committee, the reviewers, and the teams in Geneva and Munich, Robert Baud, Jérôme Billet, Henning Müller, Claudia Hildebrand, Ruslan David, Jutta Balint, Alfred Breier, Silvia Weinzierl and some more.
Rolf Engelbrecht, Antoine Geissbuhler, Christian Lovis, Gheorghe Mihalas