Slovenian Medical Informatics Association
National Member Spotlight
Slovenian Medical Informatics Association (SIMIA)
Slovensko društvo za medicinsko informatiko (SDMI)
The Slovenian Medical Informatics Association - SIMIA is a professional, non-governmental organization aimed to promote developments in medical informatics in Slovenia as well as internationally. Its predecessor, the MIA, was founded in 1988 as the ex-Yugoslav professional association of medical information professionals. Nowadays it has more than two hundred members of different professions all working in the eHealth field. The SIMIA is a meeting place for people active in medical informatics in the broadest sense, i.e. physicians, computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and health care managers.
The main scope of SIMIA is to stimulate and co-ordinate various activities of its members in promoting health informatics in the country and to support international co-operation in this field. Main activities encompass the following tasks:
- Organisation of scientific and professional conferences, symposia, courses and exhibitions very often in collaboration with related organizations abroad.
- Publication of scientific, professional and educational documents and papers in the field of medical informatics.
- Dissemination of information about health informatics conferences, publications and links via internet using various types of web services.
- Promotion of scientific and professional contacts with similar societies at the international level seeking not only knowledge but also friendship
- Active support to professionals and scientists willing to actively participate at international conferences and meetings
At a national scale SIMIA keeps the tradition of organising yearly national conferences often with international participation. A national congress on medical informatics is held every two years hosting invited speakers from various healthcare informatics associations such as EFMI, IMIA, HIMSS etc. While the congresses cover broad aspects of healthcare informatics, the yearly organised conferences are aimed towards special topics such as: EPRs (EHR), healthcare data management, security, patient safety, eHealth, nursing informatics, telemedicine, legal and ethical issues, healthcare legislation and healthcare issues.
Several activities have been started recently within SIMIA in order to enhance uptake of modern ICT solutions in health sector and to promote ICT solutions for better care among general population in Slovenia.
SIMIA has special interest groups that work under its umbrella. Their work is presented below.
SIMIA International involvement
For SIMIA an International cooperation is extremely important. In 1992 SIMIA joined the European federation of Medical Informatics (EFMI) thus becoming the first national medical informatics association member from newly established European countries that joined EFMI. Since 1993 SIMIA is a member of IMIA. SIMIA has national representatives in both associations, being active in working groups of both, IMIA and EFMI.
SIMIA is founder of "Prorec Slovenia (PROREC.SI)", a national foundation promoting quality labelling and certification of EHR systems. PROREC.SI is a full member of the EUROREC Institute (EuroRec.org), an independent not-for-profit organisation, promoting in Europe the use of high quality Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs). PROREC.SI participates in the group that prepares a European validation of Clinical Archetypes.
SIMIA is also active in HIMSS, IEEE and ISfTeH. Members of SIMIA regularly attend conferences and other professional meetings organised by above mentioned associations. SIMIA representatives are also members of their governing bodies thus helping to promote eHealth on a global level.
In 1999 SIMIA successfully organized in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the EFMI Congress MIE’99. In 2011 it organised the EFMI STC2011 conference in Laško, Slovenia. In 2008, when Slovenia was presiding European Council, SIMIA helped the Slovenian government to organise the eHealth 2008 conference in Portorož, Slovenia, where the “The Portorož Declaration” on eHealth in “Europe without frontiers” was adopted. With the declaration the EU member states and the European Commission committed to support the deployment of high-capacity infrastructure and info-structure for health and social care information networks and services.
SIMIA members are members of scientific programme committee (SPC) in all of EFMI Medical Informatics Europe congresses and majority of STC conferences since 2005. They served also as reviewers. Due to their variety of professional activities, SIMIA members enjoy high international reputation in many international associations for medical informatics.
SIMIA “IMS” magazine
Since 1996 SIMIA has been publishing its own paper and e-version magazine “Informatica Medica Slovenica” (IMS). It is a scientific journal in Slovenian/English, also cited in PubMed (http://ims.mf.uni-lj.si/).
HL7 Slovenia section is a special interest group within SIMIA. It was established in 2012 and is in a process of becoming a full-fledged national HL7 affiliate and national contact point. The HL7 Slovenia follows the needs for organised and structured national eHealth infrastructure and solutions that should be built in Slovenia. The activities of HL7 Slovenia are directed towards medical informatics standards in general and not limited to HL7 standards only. The national eHealth infrastructure and solutions needs clear, simple, well defined and nationally valid set of medical informatics standards appropriate for use on the national as well as EU level. Some solutions lack interoperability. To overcome these problems the following standardisation activity has been defined within HL7 Slovenia:
- Supporting thematic governmental and a civil society initiatives e.g. telehealth/telemedicine, Interoperability etc.
- Establishing independent place for exchange of ideas and networking of various national stakeholders and different subjects interested in specialised e-health processes - e.g. e-prescription, e-referral etc.
- Facilitating national and international collaboration on different thematic e.g. R&D projects
- Facilitating involvement in international associations like HL7 International, IHE, OpenEHR, SNOMED CT, LOINC, ICD, Horizon 2020 etc.
- Helping to build and maintain the (international) database of experts, expert groups and examples of good practice for concrete (national) problems in the field.
- Organisation of thematic meetings, (qualification) workshops, on-site trainings and webinars
- Provide certifications in the field of medical informatics
- Support knowledge transfer from academic environment to the end users - e.g. Clinical Research Informatics Systems
Foundation document for the Slovenian strategy on telehealth
Slovenia has been implementing its “eHealth 2010” strategy through projects targeting mainly business-to-business services in healthcare. Within that strategy some telemedicine pilot projects were planned, but there was no systematic support for a steered development of telehealth services and their implementation within the Slovenian healthcare system. For this reason a national strategy on telehealth is needed that would be a part of the national eHealth strategy. To facilitate the process of telehealth strategy preparation, SIMIA (a member of ISfTeH) mandated a group of experts to prepare a foundation document. The document entitled “Foundations for the Slovenian strategy on telehealth services” was prepared in 2011/12 and was discussed nationally among professional at different occasions and at different levels in 2012. It was also presented to 15 national strategic stakeholders and received their full support.
Nursing Informatics Interest Group (NIIG)
Nursing Informatics Interest Group is an interest group within SIMIA, established in 2001. It is dedicated to serving the specific needs of nurses in the field on nursing informatics. Members of NIIG foster collaboration among nurses and others interested in nursing informatics. Members of NIIG organise meetings, conferences, workshops, visits to institutions practising nursing informatics thus providing opportunities for its members to share knowledge. They participate in different committees related to nursing informatics nationally and internationally. NIIG also serves as an advisor group. It collects information and prepares annual reports on research in nursing informatics in Slovenia and internationally.
Prof. Ivan Eržen, MD, PhD – President of SIMIA (firstname.lastname@example.org) and SIMIA representative to EFMI, IMIA
Drago Rudel, PhD – SIMIA representative to ISfTeH (email@example.com)