On June 16, 2012, the Armenian Association of Telemedicine (AATM) and the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) co-hosted a three-hour-long session “Information and Communication Technologies for Healthcare” within the frameworks of the 5th Annual DigiTech Business Forum at Marriott-Armenia hotel in Yerevan. The session was dedicated to the memory of AATM co-founder and Board Member, General Secretary and Treasurer, Dr. Davit Gasparyan, who tragically died on May 12, 2012.
The session was co-chaired by the Head of Parliamentary Commission on Healthcare, Maternity and Child Protection and prominent Armenian physician and healthcare manager, Professor Ara Babloyan, and one of the DigiTech’s invited speakers, leading international expert on telehealth, Founding President of South African Telemedicine Association, Professor Maurice Mars. Participation of Prof. Mars was made possible thanks to the support from a USAID-Armenia project, EDMC (Enterprise Development and Market Competitiveness).
In the first part of the session, after paying tribute to Dr. Gasparyan’s life and achievements, AATM president Dr. Georgi Chaltikyan briefly presented recent work and achievements, current and prospective projects and programs of the association. He detailed the outcomes of the AATM’s recent inaugural meeting, ARMTELEMED-1 congress in October 2011, and presented highlights of AATM’s participation in the two major international telehealth events in 2012 – the Med-e-Tel by ISfTeH in Luxembourg on April 18-20, and ATA Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Jose on April 29 – May 1. He then focused on AATM’s current projects, including but not limited to a joint telemedicine program with a US-based company Medweb, participation and support for governmental efforts in the country’s eHealth program, a joint project in distant patient monitoring (see below), as well as several commercial and educational projects. Professor Mars then took the floor and gave a keynote on recent advances, challenges and perspectives of developing eHealth worldwide. Next followed a presentation on advancements in Armenia’s eHealth program presented by the local e-governance implementation agency, EKENG, which triggered an extremely lively discussion on the paths and challenges of installing Health ICT in the country’s healthcare system, with the participation of representatives of virtually all stakeholders: Ministry of Health officials, the legislative branch, healthcare professionals, private healthcare providers, IT leaders, and academia.
The second time of the session after the break was almost entirely dedicated to Mobile Health and distant patient monitoring modalities (Home Telehealth). Guest speakers – Mr. Marko Juttinen, president of a Finland-based Mobile Health producer MegaKoto, and Mr. Martin Moerman from a Dutch mobile cardiac monitoring company, presented their solutions and approaches to Mobile Patient Monitoring. It is worth mentioning that both companies were also present at the DigiTech Business Forum’s exposition, generating particular interest among the expo visitors, specialists and media. In an interview after the session, AATM president Dr. Chaltikyan explained that the association, together with its local partners, is currently looking into establishing collaboration with the above companies to initiate distant monitoring services in Armenia.
The session was attended by more than 65 participants and reflected a growing interest in Health ICT among representatives of diverse specialties and fields of study. The session’s presentations are now accessible for download (please use the links below).
AATM team thanks fellow organizers, supporters and all participants of the session and looks forward to future educational, scientific, business and networking events.