Healthcare Professionals Converge in Brazil for Hospitalar 2012
First came the Geeks. Then came the Scrubs.
Over the last two weeks, Brazil’s most populous city has become the consumate host, welcoming a tiny tour of tech junkies just days before it was invaded by throngs of healthcare professionals.
Since Tuesday, roughly 90,000 doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, buyers and medical device manufacturers have converged on São Paulo to participate in Hospitalar 2012, an international conference and fair for healthcare practitioners.
Billed as the largest medical trade show in Latin America (and ranking among the world’s top three), the four-day event drew worldwide attention—enticing participants from neighboring countries like Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Venezuela as well as those from such far-away lands as Russia, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. In total, visitors from 68 countries roamed the cavernous halls of Expo Center Norte to see the latest incarnations of hospital and laboratory equipment, ventilation, infant incubation, home healthcare products, emergency transportation, and nebulizers.
“Hospitalar promotes and fosters business and networking between the supplying industry and hospital and clinic directors, and the healthcare professionals,” Hospitalar founder and President Waleska Santos, M.D., said. “It is the big yearly meeting point of the hospital sector in the Americas.”
This year’s big meeting point featured the addition of a digital health seminar that explored various opportunities in the burgeoning healthcare IT/telemedicine industry, a sector growing by 11 percent per year, according to some estimates. The seminar—officially dubbed the “1st International Fair and Forum of Telemedicine, Telehealth and Information Technology for Healthcare”—was held simultaneously with Hospitalar and focused on ways mobile phones and computers can both track and monitor patients’ health. One session, for example, explained the basics of creating a digital support network for hospital patients immediately after they are discharged.
“The objective is to share information about the opportunities for entrepreneurship, besides boosting up the private areas to perceive the modern and interactive resources of telemedicine and telehealth as integrative tools of actions already performed by hospitals and home care companies,” Hospitalar Digital Health honorary President Chao Lung Wen said. Wen is head of the Discipline of Telemedicine in the School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo, and he also is president of the Brazilian Council of Telemedicine and Telehealth.
Nearly six dozen companies touted healthcare IT solutions at the Telemedicine Fair and Forum, including multinational conglomerates like Philips and GE Healthcare, and smaller firms such as Medsystem SV, Wheb Informática Ltda. and TOTVS S.A.
GE Healthcare’s digital display consisted of the RIS-I, an integrated radiology information system that manages the flow of information sent to hospitals’ radiology and nuclear medicine departments; and PACS IW, an online solution enabling the storage, visualization, distribution and printing of images anywhere. PACS IW can accomodate unlimited numbers of users and print on demand, thereby helping hospitals reduce costs.
Also on hand was Docobo Ltd., a United Kingdom-based medical device and ehealth company that used the inaugural Telemedicine Fair to launch three new healthcare IT solutions: doc@HOME, Careportal, and HealthHUB.
Docobo described its doc@HOME service as an integrated solution for the remote (or home) management of patients with chronic diseases. The solution is designed to provide a “systematic approach” to long-term disease management by noting changes in a patient’s health.
The doc@HOME solution uses standard Web browsers to help clinicians access a patient’s electronic health record on demand and send messages directly to the convalescent. Physicians assistants, nurses and others remotely monitoring the patient’s health can suggest for example, that he or she visit a doctor or change the frequency/volume of medication.
The doc@HOME service works in tandem with the company’s Careportal and HealthHUB products—handheld devices designed for home use that patients can use to better monitor changes in their health. Docobo executives claim the devices are ideal for those suffering from cardiac and respiratory diseases, asthma, diabetes, dementia and neurological disorders.
“Telehealth has the ability to reduce the burden on resources of healthcare providers related to long-term care management, which makes our technology a very attractive proposition, and we look forward to supporting providers to develop solutions that meet local needs,” Docobo Managing Director Adrian Flowerday said in a news release. “But just as importantly, telehealth can also significantly improve an individual’s health and quality of life. Simple and routine tasks that would otherwise be carried out by a general practitioner or nurse at the local surgery or hospital can be performed by the patient in the comfort of their own home, meaning greater autonomy and the ability to take greater control of their own health.”
The doc@HOME solution currently is sold in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.