Geneva Digital Health Day 2024

The month of May ended me attending the Geneva digital health day, and event following the Geneva health forum. The event was at Campus Biotech, where people get together to talk about the future on digital health.

Taking early morning train

I attended to Geneva digital digital health day together with my colleagues at SwissTPH, some my colleagues went the day before, and some went earlier in the week to attend the Geneva health forum, so I had to take morning train alone, 6AM, and arrived 15 minutes late at Campus Biotech to join the main auditorium.

Loading myself with coffee

Campus Biotech

The conference had the main panel discussions at the main auditorium and two parallel workshop sessions happening at the same time. It's good that the organizers didn't include too many parallel sessions (two workshop sessions and one main session), because it makes it really difficult for the attendees to decide which workshop or session to attend, as there will be good sessions happening at the same time.

Campus Biotech Geneva
Campus Biotech Geneva

NCHIS poster and abstract

One of the first things I did when I got a break was to look for the place where they were showing posters, I was hoping to see my poster that was selected after submitting an abstract on the National COVID Health Information System (NCHIS) that we created while I was working at the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka.

NCHIS was my first health information project that I did while I was working and studying as a Master's student in Health Informatics. However, I was only able to submit an abstract about it in 2024, and I was really happy to give everyone the credit in creating and working in the project though the publication of the abstract and the poser.

I was bit disappointing to find out that the posters are published online, in a metaverse, and that people have to install an application on their mobile phones, which most including me is reluctant to do. And honestly I thought people have moved on from the mataverse to AI.

I was happy to find out later, that they have put on physical posters for the attendees to see, and I was happy to finally see my poster in action.

I hope they put all the posters in the open area of the conference so people would read while they are having a cup of coffee or a break, because the way the organizers have put on the posters were still hard to find for the attendees.

As with any conference, I try to network as much as possible. And it was nice to re-connect with some familiar faces that I've interacted online and offline before, as well as make new connections. I hope we will meet and get a chance to work together in different projects soon, the health informatics community is a small community after all.

Some workshops I attended felt as if they were bit disconnected from reality facing many developing countries, and more focused towards developed countries in Europe and USA. Which is understandable from their point of view as they expect a profitable outcome from their investment.

As in many conferences these days, there was lot of emphasis on AI, which I tried to actually avoid. But I guess that's how things are going to be for some time.

Workshop in clinical decision support systems / SMART guidelines

To top it all off, my colleagues at SwissTPH conducted the final workshop of the event together with WHO on CDSS, SMART guidelines and sustainability.

It was really nice to get all the perspectives and different ideas on SMART guidelines and CDSS. As we did a workshop in Washington last year, the time was never enough as there are so many interesting and different ideas on SMART guidelines and CDSS in the digital health systems.

I wish I had more time to spend and enjoy in Geneva. However, my last train was at 8.45, so had to quickly rush back to the train station to return to Basel. But maybe next time I will plan a full day trip to Geneva and go again.

Rukshan Ranatunge

Rukshan Ranatunge