ETAT 2013: Reflections on the First IEEE EMBS International Summer School on Telemedicine

ETAT 2013: Reflections on the First IEEE EMBS International Summer School on Telemedicine

The first IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biological Society (EMBS) Summer School on Emerging Technologies and Applications in Telemedicine (ETAT) was held 25–31 August 2013 in Slovakia. ETAT was cosponsored by IEEE EMBS, the National Centre of Telemedicine Services at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, the Institute of Measurement Science at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, and IBM Slovakia Ltd., and was hosted at the picturesque Smolenice Castle in the Slovak countryside.

The attendees at a poster session.

The attendees at a poster session.

The summer school provided an excellent venue for learning, teaching, and brainstorming for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, engineers, industry representatives, and clinicians. The event focused on addressing the challenges of chronic disease management via telemedicine techniques, spanning from data acquisition to interpretation and clinical decision support. The program included topics such as wearable technology, communication links for biomedical telemetry, body area networks, computer-aided decision making, data mining, and decision support systems, as well as applications of telemedicine and successfully implemented solutions.

The Best Poster Presentation Award ceremony.

The Best Poster Presentation Award ceremony.

Although the first in a soon-to-be biannual event series, the 2013 summer school was an exciting and stimulating week of networking and discussions with prominent experts in biomedical signal processing, biomedical data treatment, neuroengineering, health care informatics, and biomedical telemetry and telemedicine technologies. One of the highlights was the tutorials delivered by distinguished faculty, which provided detailed insights into biomedical signal processing, telemedicine technology and devices, systems and communications, data interoperability, computer-aided decision making, and applications of telemedicine. The round-table sessions with health care and industry representatives facilitated cross-disciplinary interaction between education, research, clinical practice, and the private sector. Such interactions helped attendees gain new insights and perspectives on telemedicine that will hopefully contribute to the successful translation of current research endeavors into marketable clinical products.

A round-table session with industry representatives.

A round-table session with industry representatives.

The summer school was held at a castle situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Smolenice village in western Slovakia, about 60 km from the capital city Bratislava. The history of Smolenice dates back to the 13th century: the castle was built in the 15th century, and, during the French wars led by Napoleon, the main building and tower were considerably damaged by fire. Restoration began in the 19th century and was completed in the 1950s, when the castle was taken over by the Slovak Academy of Sciences and became its representative congress center. The castle served as an exquisite venue for ETAT.

A tour of Bojnice Castle.

A tour of Bojnice Castle.

Attendees enjoy the Slovak winetasting social event.

Attendees enjoy the Slovak winetasting social event.

In response to the success of the first edition of the summer school, the organizers are planning to compile the plethora of research and clinical topics covered during the summer school in a volume of the prestigious Springer book series Health Informatics. In addition, the planning for the next edition of the IEEE EMBS ETAT summer school is already under way for 2015 at the same location. Moreover, as a strategy to attract participants from Asia, North America, Australia, and other locations around the world, the organizers are considering hosting the event adjacent to the 2015 EMBS International Conference (EMBC) in Milan, Italy. So here is just another great event to add to your calendars while attending EMBC’15 in Milan—it’s just a quick side trip after all!

The farewell evening. From left: Prof. Peter Farkas, chair of the IEEE Czechoslovakia Section; Prof. Gabriel Juhas, dean of the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava; Silvia Macis, student; Dr. Fedor Lehocki, chair IEEE EMBS ETAT; Prof. Metin Akay, faculty; and Eva Bukovenova, Organizing Committee member.

The farewell evening. From left: Prof. Peter Farkas, chair of the IEEE Czechoslovakia Section; Prof. Gabriel Juhas, dean of the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava; Silvia Macis, student; Dr. Fedor Lehocki, chair IEEE EMBS ETAT; Prof. Metin Akay, faculty; and Eva Bukovenova, Organizing Committee member.