AMIA 2011 Symposium News Vol. 2, Issue 2

Thursday, July 21, 2011
AMIA Symposium News
   Come to the Monday Keynote and Learn About Smart Applications
   Engage With Corporate Partners at Industry Day Sessions
   Choose from Panels that Reflect Breadth of Informatics Expertise
   New at AMIA 2011: "Unconferences"
   Use the Online Itinerary Planner to Plan Your Symposium Attendance
   Exhibitors Welcome—Open Invitation to NGOs, Industry, Academia

Come to the Monday Keynote and Learn About Smart Applications

Do you remember the ’90s real-estate buzz over smart homes? It began with the grand unveiling of Bill Gates’ 66,000-square-foot house along the shores of Lake Washington. Soon, it was fairly common to see new executive homes getting wired for smart-home technologies. Mainstream applications are only coming of age now, however, as luxury and gee-whiz items are morphing into practical and efficient ones. At the forefront is Gregory Abowd, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Back in 1998, he was one of the first researchers nationwide to look at that technology, experiment with practical applications, and see how it could improve the everyday lives of caregivers and the elderly when he created a landmark smart home, on the campus of Georgia Tech, called Aware Home. Dr. Abowd is keynoting Industry Day on Monday, Oct. 24, at 8:30 am, and is sure to give an insightful talk about his activities.

Several years ago, Dr. Abowd and his colleagues explored how home-sensing devices could be designed to incorporate Prius-like feedback loops to monitor energy and water usage inside a home—at mass-market prices. (The earliest versions of this technology, based on whole-house automation systems, were generally priced in the six-figure range.) Today, his focus is on using smart-home technology to improve the way we manage everyday healthcare needs.

In Japan, for example, researchers are adding sensors to "smart toilets" (did you know they’re now available in this country with surround-sound, touch-screen controls, ambient lighting, an iPod dock, foot warmers and adjustable heated seats?) and figuring out how to measure glucose levels, body fat, and blood pressure. Dr. Abowd is researching how home-sensing devices (the type you see attached to home-security systems and also more novel systems, which will be commercially available soon) might be used to monitor the quality of our sleep, how many calories we’re burning, and, for remote caregivers, whether there’s a healthy level of activity inside the home on a given day.

"I like the notion of other application areas driving the investment in getting more sensing in the homes," says Dr. Abowd. "Like public utilities investing in the sensing of electricity and water usage and then having that same technology leveraged for health purposes."


He’s also looking at how mobile communication devices, social networking tools, and computers embedded in our physical environments can improve the way we manage everyday healthcare needs. For example, gathering data at home to improve the accuracy and speed of diagnoses. This could include videotaping a child showing hallmarks of a developmental delay, texting questionnaires to asthmatic children piecemeal in advance of a doctor visit—even creating social networking groups in which autistic adults can find easy answers to everyday problems.

"Most medical data will soon come from outside a doctor’s office," asserts Dr. Abowd. "We’re still struggling, however, with basic health IT and electronic medical record deployment. There needs to be better integration between technology research and health research. Most health IT education currently comes out of medical schools. That puts pressure on your research to affect the bottom line of your health system."

Hear more from Gregory Abowd at the Annual Symposium, Oct. 22-26, 2011, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC. Register now!

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Engage With Corporate Partners at Industry Day Sessions

The Industry Advisory Council (IAC) brings AMIA Corporate Partners together to exchange information, improve communication and build partnerships and collaborative opportunities on a pre-competitive basis. IAC has developed an excellent program for Monday, Oct. 24, hosting the following panels:

    • "Common Framework for Secondary Uses of Data: Next-Generation Models for Sharing Real World Evidence," moderated by Jon Easter, RPh, Director, Public Policy and Advocacy, GlaxoSmithKline;
    • "mHealth Innovations: The Impact of Remote Monitoring and Adherence Devices on Care Delivery and Healthcare Research," moderated by Patricia McGaffigan, MS, Director of Marketing, Clinical Decision Support, Philips Healthcare; and
    • "Desperately Seeking Informaticians: How Today’s Employers are Building the Global Informatics Workforce," moderated by Jonathan Leviss, MD, Director, Clinical Solutions, Microsoft.

To learn more about your organization’s participation in Industry Day, contact Jonathan Grau,, 240-479-2133.

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Choose from Panels that Reflect Breadth of Informatics Expertise

Fourteen themed groups of panels will present a plethora of informatics information, knowledge, and data as the 35th Annual AMIA Symposium on Biomedical and Health Informatics get underway. Presented panels will fall into one of the following themes:

    • Clinical Decision Support, Outcomes, and Patient Safety
    • Clinical Research Informatics
    • Clinical Workflow and Human Factors
    • Consumer Informatics and Multimedia PHRs
    • Data Integration and Exchange
    • Data Mining, NLP, Information Extraction
    • EHRs and Achieving Meaningful Use
    • Global eHealth
    • Imaging Informatics
    • Informatics Education and Workforce Development
    • Interactive Systems
    • Policy and Ethical Issues
    • Terminology and Standards
    • Translational Bioinformatics and Biomedicine

One panel very likely to be popular is "International Perspectives on Patient Safety and Health Information Technology," Monday, Oct. 24, 10:30 am to noon. Moderated by Rainu Kaushal, MPH, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, NYC, the panelists are David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Dean Sittig, PhD, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston; and Jon Patrick, University of Sydney, Australia.

Following a landmark report, "To Err is Human," published by the Institute of Medicine a decade ago, Health Information Technology (HIT) was identified as a pivotal solution to improving patient safety, amid growing evidence of unintended consequences and risks from HIT. Recognizing the acceleration of HIT adoption from the $27 billion dollars in incentive payments for providers to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) and the critical need to continue evaluation and understanding of HIT’s risk and benefits to patients, this panel of national and international experts will provide an overview of current national efforts to evaluate benefits and risk of HIT. Panel discussion to include a recently commissioned Institute of Medicine consensus study, provide a summary of the literature on HIT benefits and risks, and review a three-year Australian observational case study of the implementation of a clinical information system that highlighted unintended consequences and risks.

For the full list of panels to be offered at the AMIA Symposium, go to

To view abstracts of each, use the Itinerary Planner and browse by "type." Choose "Panel" from the dropdown menu and then browse or select panels by title.

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New at AMIA 2011: "Unconferences"

You asked for programming that is not top-down! You’ve got it! A series of "Unconferences" will debut at the Annual Symposium on Monday, Oct. 24, from 12:15 to 1:30 pm.

What should you expect?

An Unconference as described on Wikipedia is:

    • Facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose
    • A collaborative learning event that is organized and created by and for its participants
    • A term used to describe events with little structure, where attendees drive the agenda and freely form new discussions and sub-groups as ideas emerge.

Symposium "Unconferences" will be attendee-driven sessions facilitated by a group of "Unchairs" for each of the five domains in informatics. Because AMIA connects a broad community of professionals and students interested in informatics, the "Unconferences" are envisioned as a way to bridge knowledge and collaboration both within and across the continuum, from basic and applied research to consumer and public health areas. "Unconferences" will cover the five domains of informatics and a wild card topic that won’t be announced until the Symposium opens! Domains include:

    • Translational Bioinformatics (TBI) Unconference
    • Clinical Research Informatics (CRI) Unconference
    • Clinical Informatics (CI) Unconference
    • Consumer Health Informatics Unconference
    • Public Health Informatics Unconference
    • Wild Card Unconference

Registration? Don’t bother if you are already registered for the conference. These are Unconferences!

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Use the Online Itinerary Planner to Plan Your Symposium Attendance

The Symposium tool for planning your onsite itinerary is online and operating to help you sort content by topic, presenter’s name, track type and day. You can download your itinerary to your online calendar and add events to it, as well. It’s also easy to return to—just click on "Society Home Page" in the left-hand menu. Bookmark this tool:

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Exhibitors Welcome—Open Invitation to NGOs, Industry, Academia

Attendance at AMIA's Annual Symposium has grown 20 percent for each of the past three years for one simple reason: Biomedical and Health Informatics is the future of clinical research, medicine, and nursing. Encourage your institution or employer to join AMIA members and Symposium participants in Washington, DC, Oct. 22-26, 2011, at the 35th Annual AMIA Symposium on Biomedical and Health Informatics. This event connects a broad spectrum of professionals, from those involved in basic and applied research to those in consumer and public health.

AMIA's Exhibition Hall at the Symposium enables exhibitors to showcase solutions and attract attention from leading informatics professionals throughout the United States and overseas.

Special Offer for NEW Exhibitors: Purchase a booth before Aug. 15 and receive a 20 percent discount off the regular price of a 10 X 10 booth! See the Exhibition Prospectus online at For more information, contact Jonathan Grau,, 240-479-2133.

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