WONCA Working Party: eHealth

eHealth

The WONCA Working Party on Informatics has changed its name to the WONCA Working Party on eHealth in 2015.

Membership is open by application to the convenor and is available to anyone working in primary health care who has an interest in the use of computers in family medicine. It is expected that applicants would have some involvement with a family practice organisation (such as a college or university department). While the level of involvement is not specified, membership of the working party assumes some degree of interaction with professional organisations in the home country.

Convenor / Chair

Dr Ilkka Kunnamo (Finland)

Email Convenor

Ilkka Kunnamo, MD, PhD, developed the original idea of Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines, a comprehensive electronic guideline database published by Duodecim Medical Publications Ltd, and served as its editor-in-chief between 1988 and 2008. He now serves as the editor-in-chief of the international version, which has been translated into eight languages.

Since 1986, he has worked as general practitioner at the Health Centre of Karstula in Central Finland. In 2009 he was appointed adjunct professor of general practice in the University of Helsinki.

He has been involved in a number of projects on primary care computing, medical informatics, and the organization of primary care. In 2002, he was the leader of the team that produced the plan for the development of a nationwide, standardised electronic health record for Finland. Presently, he develops a comprehensive multilingual decision support service (Evidence-Based Medicine electronic Decision Support, EBMeDS, www.ebmeds.org) utilising the key data sets in the health records and providing patient-specific automatic reminders, interactive algorithms, and care plans.

He has published research papers in informatics, rheumatology, gastroenterology, sinusitis, and diabetes care. He is a member of the Editorial Board of BioMed Central (London), a member of the international GRADE group (www.gradeworkinggroup.org), and a founding member of the Guidelines International Network Implementation Working Group. He is currently developing tools for controlling polypharmacy in the elderly within the PRIMA-eDS Consortium funded by the European Union.

Co-Convenor or other office bearers


Executive Members

Vision and Mission of WONCA Working Party on eHealth

Objectives of the WONCA Working Party on eHealth

  1. to promote international co-operation and dissemination of information, experiences and sources of information in the field of family medicine informatics;
  2. to promote research and development in this field, and international collaboration;
  3. to promote and assist the development of high standards in the application of work in this field; 
  4. to encourage high standards in education in this field; 
  5. to seek and maintain formal channels of communication with relevant professional and governmental organizations.

Activities

Members of the working party have been involved with the uptake of electronic clinical practice guidelines and the use of data extracted from electronic medical records, especially for quality improvement. Discussions have been held with the European Society for Quality and Safety in Family Practice (EQuiP), on the association between clinical data review and quality improvement strategies.

History

The first workshop meeting of the WONCA Informatics Working Party took place at the WONCA Regional meeting in Stockholm in July 1996. Since then, the working party has tried to present workshops and symposiums on information management and technology at most of the WONCA conferences. Their aims are to share knowledge and ideas, assist in the education and training of GPs in the field of informatics and to develop projects which encourage the optimal use of computers in general practice.

The WONCA Working Party on Informatics has changed its name to the WONCA Working Party on eHealth in 2015.

Relevant Resources

WONCA Informatics Policy

WONCA Executive Committee and World Council has endorsed eight recommendations of the Informatics Working Party:

Recommendation 1: WONCA should encourage each national college to develop its own web page with links to the WONCA web page and also links to useful Internet resources for family doctors in their countries. 

Recommendation 2: WONCA should encourage national colleges to help their members with basic training on the use of information technology in family medicine and how to gain access to the Internet and benefit from its use.

Recommendation 3: WONCA should contribute to the development of professionally driven performance measures and outcome measures on how this technology can be used in family practice to benefit the profession, the community and the health system in each of our member nations. 

Recommendation 4: WONCA should assist in making information simple on web sites. Many web sites are very complex and it is difficult to find the information one is seeking.

Recommendation 5: WONCA should promote the use of the Internet for free Medline access and Continuing Medical Education for all family doctors.

Recommendation 6: WONCA should encourage each national college to publish their education and other resources on the Internet to allow sharing of information.

Recommendation 7: WONCA should facilitate the sharing of the uses and benefits and technological aspects of telemedicine in teaching, research and clinical practice. This is especially important for family doctors working in isolation.

Recommendation 8: The WONCA Working Party on Informatics should publish a site with links to general practice informatics research and education projects around the world, listing key centres and key individuals.