10th Annual Summer Institute
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The 10th Annual Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics - "Marking a Decade of Excellence"

July 19-22, 2000

University of Maryland, School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD  21201


Reporting for OJNI      

Dr. Dee McGonigle, Thursday (7/20/2000)

I spent a wonderful day at this year's event and will not only share my experience but will also include a brief overview of the entire event.


More than 300 participants attended this year with an unprecedented international presence. Forty informatics based research papers were accepted for presentation and 27 posters. The WEBCAST, enabling "virtual" attendance, was sold out. Dr. Patricia Abbott was the Chairperson for this year's spectacular event. "We're excited about the number of international attendees at this year's conference," said Dr. Barbara R. Heller, Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. "This added a new and enriching presence as colleagues shared ideas and information to advance this area of nursing across the globe."


The Institute focuses on nursing informatics and its perspectives, current and future information technologies, management information systems projects, industry and nursing partnerships, nursing languages and standards, and informatics processes.


Participants are exposed to experts in nursing, health care informatics including nurse executives, public policy makers, nursing information systems directors, consultants, informatics educators, colleagues, and software vendors. The Institute benefits those who are new to informatics as well as experienced informaticists.


The first session I attended was that of Judy Ozbolt (Vanderbilt University), on Nursing Terminology, Standards, and Models. She reviewed the importance of language and why a standard language was a necessity since 20-60% of nursing time is spent putting data into the patient's record. Dr. Ozbolt brought up a great point, stressing how expensive this information is and what actually happens to it. She distinguished between the old ball game and the new ball game. The object of the game remains to collect valid, reliable, interpretable, and reusable data. In the old game, we use inconsistent terminology. In the new game, everything is mapped to a concept-based reference terminology constructed on a terminology model. The new game is an internationally-based collaborative effort.

During Patricia Button's session on Modeling: Getting Beyond First Base, we were still using the baseball metaphor. She stressed the importance of modeling and the fact that the model is written in language that all will understand. Given the complexity of healthcare, it is no easy task to develop a model that all will comprehend. However, it is crucial to understand the importance of modeling as a means for reaching consensus, representing our reality, and distinguishing the problem from the solution. Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a standardized language for developing blueprints for complex systems, supporting views across all stakeholder groups from users to analysts to project managers. 

Charles Mead presented on Tools for Knowledge Representation. He reviewed concept based knowledge representation and UML. Dr. Mead stressed that there are no right or wrong models, only helpful ones. He concluded with a framework for today and tomorrow discussing Negroponte's Observation, Moore's Law, Metcalf's Law, and Coase's Law.

William Braithwaite, Senior Advisor on Health Information Policy in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and author of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), delivered the Distinguished Lecture, "The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: The Pragmatics of Informatics and How HIPAA Affects the Future of Healthcare Informatics." According to Dr. Braithwaite, "The effects of HIPAA standards pave the way for cost effective, uniform, fair, and confidential healthcare information practices; for standards which can do the same for electronic medical records; and for higher quality healthcare....HIPAA is the basis for the breakthrough in the practice of medicine for all practitioners." His presentation was not only informative but entertaining as well. See Photograph Number 1.

Brian Gugerty presented on Formulating Reasonable Vendor Expectations. Dr. Gugerty reviewed the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) from the vendor and customer perspectives. See Photograph Number 2.

The WEBCAST portion of the conference was exciting. This formatting provided the avenue for many to tele-attend. See Photograph Number 3.


This was an excellent informatics conference that provided time for networking and cognitive stimulation. "The quality of this year's program is unsurpassed," stated Dr. Abbott. "The attendees were enthused about the quality of the sessions, which were enhanced by the technology-rich environment at the School of Nursing."

Note: Mark your calendars now for the 2001 Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics, July 18-21 at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.