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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Seven Hours ahead and Way Behind ...

on Blog posts.

This has been a very busy week.  Once again I'm in Saudi Arabia, and as usual, my days are packed with day job work on developing Saudi standards, and my evenings hours reserved for conference calls with the US, and late hours are spent preparing for the next day and way to late hours for school work.

I was privileged to be a member of the Faculty presenting at King Saud University for the closure of their inaugural AMIA i10x10 program, teaching alongside my academic adviser Dr. William (Bill) Hersh. You can see a picture of the distinguished faculty and students involved in the program in the image below.

At the back row is Dr. Hersh in the blue suit and tie.  Next to him on the left is Dr. Amr Jamal, head of the program for King Saud.  And then me, again in my thobe (which was quite a hit with students and faculty both).  I think some few didn't recognize me until I put on my motorcycle vest, thinking I was a Saudi national ;-)

I attended the entire day and was quite interested to hear from other presenters about the Saudi Ministry of Health's eHealth program from several different perspectives.  Leading off the day was Russel Gann, formerly involved with CDC programs in the US, and just recently finishing a stint with the Saudi CDC.  He spoke to the students about the complexities of population health and the need for informatics understanding in the country.

I followed him, and spoke about the standard program in Saudi and their use of HL7 standards and IHE profiles.  The standards presently under development include HL7 Version 2, Version 3, and Clinical Document Architecture Release 2, and also include IHE profiles.  This I presented with my OHSU student hat on.  I figuratively switched to my HL7 Ambassador hat, presenting the CDA Ambassador presentation to the students and faculty so they would understand what CDA and CCD could do for eHealth.  Finally I put my IHE hat on to present what IHE was.  Lastly, I returned to my student hat and put it all together to explain why these standards and organizations were important to the students.  Many of the students expressed a deep interest in the formation of an HL7 Saudi Affiliate, and were also interested in participating in the work of the MoH supporting healthcare interoperability in the Kingdom.

Dr. Hersh gave the students a brief overview of the AMIA 10x10 history, talking about how the program came about and how the international edition emerged as a result.  We also heard several award winning student presentations after his talk.  Afterwards, there was a presentation of awards and certificates.

The day was completed by Dr. Ahmed Belkhair who spoke about the Saudi eHealth strategy.  He also presented on this topic at the most recent HIMSS conference in Orlando last month.  Dr. Balkhair's department is leading the standards efforts in Saudi Arabia, and he also has the honor to be the HL7 Saudi chair.

Later in the week I joined Dr. Hersh, Dr. Jamal, and several other distinguished faculty from the University for a dinner at Najdi Village Restaurant.  I felt quite privileged to attend the dinner, and hope to have a meal there again.  Dr. Jamal, our host was quite gracious with his attention.  I hope to have the opportunity to return again to King Saud to teach again in the future, Insh'allah.

Signing off from Riyadh (but still here for a few more days).  I'll be taking my OHSU finals from here again this weekend, as I did in December, so I must go study now.


1 comment:

  1. Was great to see you in Riyadh, Keith, and I enjoy being simultaneously your teacher and your student.