Following is a speech (English only) by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr Yeoh Eng-kiong, at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong Medical International Informatics Conference 2003 today (January 24):
Professor McDonald, Mr Waegemann, Dr Wong, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome distinguished delegates to the Hong Kong International Medical Informatics Conference 2003.
The theme of this Conference is "Sustaining Quality Through Informatics - An Experiential Journey", is most timely when health care providers worldwide face major challenges in sustaining their health care systems in the light of the ageing population, increasing cost of health care delivery and rising community expectations for quality health care services.
Medical informatics is the logic of health care. It is the study of how medical knowledge is created, shaped, shared and applied, and is fundamental to the practice of medicine. With the use of medical informatics, we can improve the quality of health care, reduce cost, provide better education for providers and patients, and conduct medical research more effectively.
In Hong Kong, we strongly support the application of medical informatics to improve the quality of health care delivery. The Hospital Authority has invested in a sophisticated integrated clinical information system to support the delivery of patient care and assist in clinical management. The system is now used on a daily basis by thousands of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. Supported by clinical decision support system, the system helps our clinicians in diagnosis, information seeking, the generation of alerts and the interpretation of clinical signals, thus resulting in better care and outcomes.
Worldwide there are initiatives to build National Health Information Infrastructure to facilitate the development of a seamless, integrated and efficient health care system by providing a common platform for sharing medical knowledge, information and clinical protocols, for quality assurance and patient care audit, and for sharing of the patient records. Here in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority has developed an electronic access gateway to clinical practice guidelines and research evidence of clinical effectiveness. The Authority is planning to introduce lifelong electronic patient records for public hospital patients. The Department of Health is developing a Public Health Information System on the community's health status and disease patterns. We possess the basic attributes for launching a Health Information Infrastructure. We shall steer ourselves towards that direction, starting with the public health sector, extending to the private sector and eventually to other sectors relevant to health.
I would like to thank the Organizing Committee for organizing this Conference. I am sure that with such a gathering of distinguished delegates, we can gain further insights on the innovative application of information technology in enhancing the quality of health care delivery.
Lastly, I wish you all a successful Conference, and to the overseas delegates, a pleasant stay in this Asia's World City.
End/Friday, January 24, 2003