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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 147-149

Taiyuan global health conference 2017

President of the European Chapter of the International Society of Digital Medicine, Towcester, UK

Date of Web Publication26-Mar-2018

Correspondence Address:
David John Wortley
President of the European Chapter of the International Society of Digital Medicine, The Old Barn, Pury Road, Alderton, NN12 7LN, Towcester
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/digm.digm_47_17

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How to cite this article:
Wortley DJ. Taiyuan global health conference 2017. Digit Med 2017;3:147-9

How to cite this URL:
Wortley DJ. Taiyuan global health conference 2017. Digit Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Jun 8];3:147-9. Available from: http://www.digitmedicine.com/text.asp?2017/3/4/147/228669

I attended the 5th Annual Global Health Conference 2017 held in Taiyuan, China, in early November 2017 [Figure 1]. I offer some personal reflections on the themes and key messages that I took from this conference. The theme of the conference was “Innovation, Sharing, Towards an Era of Great Health” and this was underlined strongly in a series of keynote presentations during the opening plenary session which I had the honor of moderating. Both the conference presentations and the exhibition reflected the primary interests and expertise of delegates and exhibitors, namely women and children's health and microbiology.
Figure 1: Global Health 2017 Keynote Speakers

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  Plenary Session Insights Top

The opening keynote by Professor Yu Mengsun [1] set the tone for the event. His presentation title “Put President Xi's Proposal of People's Health into Practice, Implement Human Health System Engineering” focused on some of the global health challenges the world faces,[2] primarily through the aging society, lifestyle-related conditions, and drug-resistant diseases. Professor Yu spoke about the traditions of Chinese medicine and a holistic approach to personal health management which involved citizens having greater involvement in and responsibility for their own health, assisted by technology. His speech provided an excellent foundation upon which the following keynotes were built with a mixture of detailed academic research and practical applications.

I was especially encouraged that Professor Yu and President Xi shared their concerns about major lifestyle-related global health issues and the responsibility that digitally empowered citizens need to take in their own personal health management. In today's society, I believe that there is a tendency to seek “A pill for all ills” solution that does not require any behavioral changes in lifestyle. Digital medicine plays a great role not only in giving the world a greater insight and understanding into medical conditions and how to cure them but also in helping citizens make a significant contribution to their own health through wearable and embedded devices, and I found it fascinating that this is reflected in the traditions of Chinese medicine.

The role of the citizen in personal health management was also the basis of Professor O'Donnell's very practical presentation on Integrated Behavioral Health in China and how his clinic in the United States tackles one of the most serious global health issues – obesity and lifestyle-related conditions [Figure 2]. He outlined the importance of behavioral psychology and personalized approaches to changing lifestyle behaviors, aided by technologies such as wearables. I compared the approach adopted in Professor O'Donnell's clinics with my own experience of using wearable devices and the effectiveness of digital technologies to influence behavior. I have also been a participant in a project (PROPELS - The Promotion of Physical Activity Through Structured Education with differing Levels of on Going Support for those with Pre Diabetes: Randomised Controlled Trial in a Diverse Multi Ethnic Community)[3] run by the UK Diabetes Center where participants use mechanical pedometers to keep a daily diary of physical exercise and have sent SMS of encouragement based on their weekly steps figures.
Figure 2: Professor Ronald R O'Donnell

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The conclusions that I am forming about the use of wearables and digital applications for personal health management designed to tackle such issues as diabetes are that personalized human support should be an essential component of lifestyle behavioral change. The insights and motivations provided by digital technology alone are not sufficient by themselves to embed sustainable change.

Professor O'Donnell was followed by Professor Shao-Xiang Zhang, President of ISDM, whose topic was “The Chinese Visible Human Project and its Application”[4] [Figure 3]. His series of slides illustrated the very detailed and thorough 3D imaging of the human body in microsegments and how this had developed a better understanding of the human anatomy and the practical applications that follow from that. Professor Zhang's presentation enhanced the insights about his work that I had gained from the inaugural ISDM conference in Nanjing. I could more clearly understand how these technologies could not only herald significant developments in clinical diagnostics but also lead to improvements in areas such as surgical robotics.
Figure 3: Professor Shao-Xiang Zhang

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  Hospital President and Informational Management Forum Top

In the afternoon session, I participated as a speaker on the impact of digital disruptive technologies on medicine, health, and well-being where I outlined my thoughts on the development of consumer technologies for nonmedical applications such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 360° imaging, robotics, and video games. The key point of this presentation which has been the subject of a previous digital medicine article being that the medical profession and global medicine, health, and well-being will be strongly impacted by these developments from outside their discipline and its importance in understanding and leveraging these developments for the benefit of global health. The presentation seemed to be well received and stimulated a lot of discussion with delegates throughout the conference.

Professor Andrew Long of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) spoke about “Managing Complexity in Pediatric Medical Care” [Figure 4]. In his opening slides, Professor Long revealed his family ancestry connections with Taiyuan. He focused on his work at GOSH and cited a recent example of a very high profile case involving a baby with a terminal condition that had attracted international interventions which could not alter the clinical outcome. The overall objective of his work at GOSH is to reduce the incidence of infant mortality and to develop optimum practices for dealing with complex pediatric cases.
Figure 4: Professor Andrew Long

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Professor Long's presentation reminded me that today's mass media channels can very often distort important clinical issues, especially in a world where resources to meet global health challenges are increasingly stretched. It is a very difficult moral dilemma facing society when a terminally ill child is placed in the public eye with a demand to use every possible resource to save or extend its life.

  Summary Top

Global Health Conference 2017 in Taiyuan brought together international delegates to share their expertise with their Chinese counterparts on the primary themes of the conference, namely women and children's health and microbiology. Especially for those involved in the key thematic areas, it was a rich and informative conference which will hopefully create and help to sustain fruitful collaboration to tackle common global health issues.

Conflict of intrerest

None declared.

  References Top

Academician Yu Mengsun and Professor Jiang Zonglai Lecture on the Development of Human Health Engineering and Biomechanics; May, 2017. Available from: http://www.sustc.edu.cn/en/news_events_1_1/1914. [Last accessed on 2017 Dec 01].  Back to cited text no. 1
President Xi Calls for Full Protection of People's Health; April, 2016. Available from: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-08/20/content_26544786.htm. [Last accessed on 2017 Dec 01].  Back to cited text no. 2
PROPELS – The Promotion of Physical Activity Through Structured Education with differing Levels of on-Going Support for those with Pre-Diabetes: Randomised Controlled Trial in a Diverse Multi-Ethnic Community. Available from: http://www.leicesterdiabetescentre.org.uk/PROPELS-Study. [Last accessed on 2017 Dec 01].  Back to cited text no. 3
The Visible Human Project; April, 2006. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16506203. [Last accessed on 2017 Dec 01].  Back to cited text no. 4

  Authors Top

David Wortley is CEO and Founder of Gamification and Enabling Technologies Strategic Solutions (www. gaetss.com), a consultancy on the strategic use of Gamification and Enabling Technologies for the transformation of business and society. He is a recognized authority on the practical application of Gamification and Enabling Technologies to address global challenges in areas such as health, environment, and education. He is a serial technology innovator and has been a pioneer of emerging technologies for over 30 years. He is an expert advisor to the European Union and an accredited business mentor. His specialist expertise is in the commercialization of disruptive digital technologies. David is also a Founding Council Member of the International Society of Digital Medicine (ISDM). David was the Founding Director of the Serious Games Institute (SGI) www.seriousgamesinstitute.co.uk at Coventry University and he was responsible for the development of the institute as a global thought leader on the application of immersive technologies (which include video games, virtual worlds, and social networking) to serious social and economic issues such as education, simulation, health, commerce, and climate change. Working with academics, regional development agencies, and leading computer games companies, David made the SGI is a focal point for games-based learning, simulation, and immersive three-dimensional (3D) virtual environments and an engine for innovation and social and economic regeneration. David is a respected (see http://davidwortley.com/testimonials.html) and sought-after international conference speaker and writer for global publications on Learning Technologies, Defence and Health applications. He has written numerous papers on technology and society (see http://www.davidwortley.com/articles.html), and he is a regular conference presenter (see http://www.davidwortley.com/conferences.html).


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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