1. Carter-Templeton, Heather PhD, RN-BC
  2. Nicoll, Leslie H. PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN

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The 13th International Congress in Nursing Informatics ( was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 25 to 29, 2016, with a theme of "eHealth for All: Every Level Collaboration-From Project to Realization." This international conference is held in a different country every 2 years. This year's conference hosted 708 part- and full-time participants representing 42 unique countries.


The NI 2016 reviewers accepted almost 400 papers, posters, panel, and keynote presentations. There were a total of six keynote speakers with topics including "Deploying eHealth: Nurses are Essential Partners" (Carmen LaPlaza Santos), "Re-Imaging Care Delivery: The Power of Nursing Informatics" (Marilyn Chow/Judy Murphy), "Power of Data for Change" (Frances Hughes), "How ePatients are Changing Healthcare" (ePatient Dave), "Big Data and Health: Hopes and Challenges" (Christian Lovis), and "eHealth: Global Nursing for Global Citizens" (Heimar Marin).


The initial keynote, offered by Carmen LaPlaza Santos, encouraged nurses to be engaged in electronic health initiatives. Ms Santos stressed the need for change in healthcare in Europe. She cited current challenges such as an aging population, lack of resources, and an increased demand for high-quality care. She discussed digitization and e-health services and tools as potential interventions to improve disease management, opportunities to develop new products, and patient-centric health systems.


The next keynote was given by Judy Murphy, stepping in for Marilyn Chow who was not able to attend the conference at the last minute. Dr Murphy shared Kaiser Permanente's strategies for engaging members and nurses in the healthcare experience. In addition, she discussed futuristic designs and possibilities for a more integrated patient care experience. She also offered specific examples of improving patient outcomes as a result of electronic health records.


The following keynote was offered by Frances Hughes, the new CEO of the International Council of Nurses. This presentation emphasized the power of data to transform care. Dr Hughes offered specific examples illustrating how the use of data has helped to reduce errors, improve health literacy and nursing care, and influence policy.


The fourth keynote speech was given by Dave deBronkart, otherwise known as "ePatient Dave." ePatient Dave stressed the importance of clinicians and patients working together to improve patient outcomes. He became an empowered healthcare consumer after he was given a diagnosis of stage 4 renal cancer in December 2006. Dave took charge of his health and is now cancer free and traveling the world, sharing his story as a motivational speaker.


The last keynote was shared by Heimar Marin. She offered data and information about global changes in the access and use of information technology. She shared with the audience that, although many advancements have been made in technology, compassion for others will never be out of date.


PowerPoint files for many of the presentations and some keynote presentations are available at In addition, all conference proceedings are available open access from IOS Press at


Several events and awards were offered at NI 2016. The Social Media Working Group of AMIA held a Social Media Health satellite event to address the influence of social media in nursing informatics. In addition, the Wearable Fashion Show and the Student Design contest were unique and exciting sessions. The Wearable Fashion Show showcased smart clothes and shoes that can provide feedback and guidance related to patient care. The Student Design contest encouraged students to work in teams to collaborate in developing wearable technologies. The winning team from Switzerland designed smart shoes to be used with geriatric patients. The data regarding mobility and fall risk could be transferred via Bluetooth to a smart phone app. The international winners included a Hygiene Handwashing Game and an application designed to assess delirium in intensive care units. All of the student teams truly represented interprofessional education with students from engineering, software development, nursing, medicine, and more working together. Furthermore, 12 awards were offered for posters and presentations. Three awards were given in the following categories: papers, posters, student papers, and student posters.


This year, the International Medical Informatics Association's Nursing informatics Special Interest Group initiated the Nursing Informatics Leadership Award with monetary contributions from Drs Virginia Saba, Charlotte Weaver, and Diane Skiba, as well as Mr Patrick Weber. The Nursing Informatics Leadership Award recognizes a national or international leader who has pioneered the integration of nursing informatics into the nursing profession: nursing practice, nursing administration, nursing research, and/or nursing education. This leader has published extensively and has frequently given national and international speeches throughout his/her career.


The inaugural Nursing Informatics Leadership Award was presented to Dr Marianne Tallberg for her significant work for the promotion and integration of informatics within nursing throughout Finland. Dr Tallberg was instrumental and involved in many of the initial key events, conferences, organizations, and educational programs in Finland and Europe that focused on computer applications in nursing, which later became nursing informatics. She became involved in this new nursing specialty when serving as a faculty member at the Swedish Nursing School, Helsinki (1976-1983), and as a Board Member of the Finnish Nurses Association (1976-1982).

Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE 1. Dr Marianne Tallberg with the inaugural presentation of the Nursing Informatics Leadership Award.

In 1985, she became an NI member of the Federation for Medical Informatics European MIE conference program committee, which held Healthcare Informatics conferences yearly; also became a founding member of the IMIA Nursing Informatics Special Interest Group (also known as Working Group 8); and subsequently for the next 15 to 20 years, served as an NI expert on numerous European and international informatics committees such as the MedInfo Conferences.


She received her PhD from the University of Kuopio, served as a faculty member at the University of Helsinki and University of Kuopio, and more recently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, Finland.


All in all, it was an exciting and busy 3 days, with lots of learning and networking with international informatics colleagues. Plans are already underway for the next two international conferences, which will be held in South Africa (2018) and Beijing (2020).



The authors thank Dr Diane J. Skiba, PhD, FACMI, ANEF, FAAN, professor and director of the Health Care Informatics Specialty at the College of Nursing, University of Colorado, for her contributions to this article.