Marion J. Ball, Ed.D.
University of Maryland
100 North Greene Street,
Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA
Telephone 410/706-2004
Facsimile 410/706-8459

We must use existing resources strategically to address needs within telematics. One such resource is the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). A proactive organization, IMIA has been a force for integrating information technology into health care since 1967. Originally part of the International Federal for Information Processing (IFIP), IMIA is today independent, has fifty national informatics societies, and is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

A bridge organization, IMIA is committed to bringing its working groups (WGs) and special interest groups (SIGs) into collaborative relationships with their counterparts in IMIA- affiliated regional groups and other international societies. IMIA includes the Nursing Informatics SIG, chaired by U Gerdin-Jelger (Sweden); its next congress will be in 1997. The WGs and their chairs are as follow: WG1 Education and Medical Informatics, R Haux (Germany); WG 4 Security in Health Informatics, B Barber (UK); WG 5 Primary Health Care Informatics, G Hayes (UK); WG 6 Coding and Classification of Health Data, C Chute (USA); WG 7 Biosignal and Pattern Interpretation, J van Bemmel (Netherlands); WG 9 Health Informatics for Development, under reorganization; WG 10 Hospital Information Systems, A Bakker (Netherlands); WG 11 Dental Informatics, new chair to be named; WG 12 Pharmacy, under establishment; WG 13 Organizational Impact of Informatics, N Lorenzi (USA); WG 14 Health Professional Workstations, P Carpenter (USA); WG 15 Technology Assessment and Quality Development in Health Informatics, E van Gennip (Netherlands); WG 16 Standards for Medical Informatics, G de Moor (Belgium). WGs 10 and 16 are expected to propose SIG status in 1996; WGs 6 and 7 will hold working conferences in 1997.

NGOs like IMIA can benefit from and contribute to a format for future coordinating action, including future standardization efforts. The creation of a permanent international foundation would provide such a format. IMIA joins in supporting collaboration on standards, applications, and other telematics developments.


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