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Speech by DITS


Following is the Closing Speech by Mr. Alan Wong, Director of Information Technology Services at the "DO IT! Campaign - IT in Health Forum" today (July 30):

Professor TSUI, Dr. TANG, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honour to be invited to speak at the Closing Ceremony of the IT in Health Forum, which is organized under the aegis of the DO IT! Campaign. This Forum is unprecedented for two reasons. Firstly, it is jointly organized by the IT sector and the health sector involving the leaders of both sectors. Secondly, we have never seen so many distinguished speakers from Hong Kong and overseas who individually are experts in public health, disease control or information technology in the same forum. Credit should go to the Department of Health and the Internet Professionals Association of the DO IT! Coalition. Without their thoughtfulness, meticulous planning and well-controlled execution, the event would not have been so informative, stimulating and successful.

I am sure that information and communication technologies can help a lot in public health, telemedicine, medical education, health record keeping, bio-informatics, health resource planning and data mining for disease prevention or research purposes, etc. IT can definitely help in disease surveillance, tracking and control. No, I would not say more about these applications in the presence of so many experts in medical informatics. Suffice it to say that through the cooperation and knowledge sharing of health and IT professionals we should be able to do a better job in disease prevention and control, delivery of medical services through better utilization of scarce resources and improved communication among different parties, the discovery of new drugs or clinical practices and of course, medical and health education.

We would not be able to exploit the potential of IT if the computers do not talk to each other, so to speak. Knowledge sharing, and for that purpose, data communication, requires that the computer systems are interoperable. Last November, my department launched the Interoperability Framework. The Framework contains the technical and data specifications that facilitate the seamless integration and interconnection of government applications and their public interfaces. The Government would encourage the adoption of such technologies to facilitate data sharing and exchange as well as data mining in various fields, including of course the health sector in our society. Consequently, these technologies can help in health information capture, analysis, dissemination, tracking of infections, exchange of information and experience sharing among the respective health care and disease control agencies, and also in the collaboration of neighboring cities.

On the Government side, we are committed to supporting the development of innovative technologies in the health sector and the society generally. Under the Innovation and Technology Fund, 58 projects relating to Biotechnology and Chinese Medicine have been approved with a total amount of $172 million up to May 2003. Some of these projects involved the development of new technology that is recognized as breakthroughs in the relevant field.

I wish to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on the DO IT! Campaign. It is very encouraging to see that the "DO IT! Small Enterprises Support Scheme" has received an overwhelming response with more than 5,000 applications. Some 2,100 successful applicants will each be able to acquire a brand new personal computer with operating system and office automation tools at a minimal price of HK$888. About 1,800 personal computers are being delivered to the successful applicants and I expect the whole scheme to complete soon. The Scheme would certainly help those benefited SMEs jumpstart their IT adoption.

Once again, I sincerely thank the organizers and those who have contributed to this DO IT! Campaign, in particular those in this IT in Health Forum. Now, the Campaign is coming to the final stage while its benefit to Hong Kong is going to commence.

Thank you.

End/Wednesday, July 30, 2003


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