Posted on May 13, 2014 by Shelagh Maloney
I’ve been attending the eHealth conferences for over two decades and every spring, I find myself looking forward to the event and this year is no exception (except that spring has come a bit later!). I was asked recently why I attend the conference, what I get out of it and what advice would I have for a first-time attendee. Responding to these questions provided me with an opportunity to think about the eHealth experiences I’ve had over the years and why this conference remains one of my favourites.
I can’t remember what year I attended my first COACH conference, as it was referred to back then (CIHI and Canada Health Infoway were not conference co-hosts yet), but it was at least twenty years ago. (I had to check the math twice because this number shocks me). As a young, keen analyst working at CIHI I was thrilled to be at my first ‘real conference’ – I remember being so engaged and energized by the speakers’ bold ideas and excited about all the activity that was going on across the country. I also remember being a little intimidated by the informatics leaders – folks like Steven Huesing and Denis Protti, who were so instrumental in driving the health informatics agenda and bringing people together to share their ideas.
Over the years, I became active in COACH and served on the Board for ten years, including a stint as COACH President from 2006 to 2008. Attending the eHealth Conference as a Board member is another experience altogether. It is a whirlwind of activity that starts with breakfast meetings or runs (the 5K fun run) and ends long after the sun goes down, with receptions and other social activities. These years underscored for me just how much goes on at the conference – not only is there a packed conference program, there are numerous other meetings and activities that have become part and parcel of the conference experience over the years.
For the past few years I have been attending eHealth as an Infoway delegate and while there are no formal conference duties except those required of me as a member of the Conference Steering Committee, I find that the pace of the conference hasn’t slowed down much. From June 1- 4 the convention centre and other locales around Vancouver will be humming with breakfast meetings, fun runs, a packed conference program and receptions and other social activities until long after the sun goes down. This is why I look forward every year to the eHealth Conference. To reunite with friends that I’ve had for over two decades, to be engaged and energized by the speakers’ bold ideas, to be excited about all the activity that is going on across the country and to be in awe of the leaders and emerging leaders that are instrumental in driving the health informatics agenda forward.
I look forward to seeing you at the Conference!
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Shelagh Maloney is responsible for driving the implementation and adoption of patient-centred digital health solutions and patient engagement activities. She oversees evaluation efforts that measure the benefits of digital health investments in Canada and leads the development and execution of all of Infoway’s communications and marketing efforts.