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Dr. Francis Lau, InfoCentral Health Terminologies Community Leader

Francis Lau

Stepping into the Spotlight

Dr. Francis Lau is a Professor in the School of Health Information Science at the University of Victoria and serves as co-leader of InfoCentral’s Health Terminologies community, an online collaboration space where like-minded digital health professionals share and learn about new and existing implementations of, and updates to, health-related terminologies, terminology subsets, and classification systems used in Canada. Members of this community actively contribute to discussions and share information related to the implementation, development, maintenance, and use of multiple vocabularies in various health-related projects.

quotation markPeople should care about this community because it is a valuable resource for folks to share ideas, experiences and issues related to health terminologies in their workplace.

Dr. Lau is a PhD graduate in medical informatics specialized in the design, implementation and evaluation of health information systems. He has a diverse background in business, computing and medical sciences, with 14 years of professional experience in the IT industry. Prior to joining the University of Victoria in 2001 he was an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Accounting and MIS in the Business School at the University of Alberta. Dr. Lau's current research foci are in health information system evaluation, clinical vocabularies, and palliative care informatics. He is the recipient of the eHealth Chair funded by CIHR/Infoway to establish an eHealth Observatory to monitor the impact of health information system deployment in Canada.

Infoway connected with Dr. Lau to learn more about his involvement in the Health Terminologies community and how digital health solutions can help Canadians lead healthier lives.

Why do you believe in digital health?

My wife and I have chronic conditions that require ongoing monitoring, so we are always tracking our medications and lab results online to be better informed. We also try to stay healthy by exercising and maintaining a balanced diet, so we use digital health apps on our phones and computers to help manage our day-to-day living.

Why should people care about the Health Terminologies community?

People should care about this community because it is a valuable resource for folks to share ideas, experiences and issues related to health terminologies in their workplace.

How do members of the Health Terminologies community participate and make a difference to digital health in Canada?

The Health Terminologies community meets monthly to engage in discussions about current events across Canada, with respect to different clinical/reference terminologies such as SNOMED CT, LOINC/p-CLOCD and CCDD. We also conduct presentations on a range of topics about how terminologies are used in different digital health applications, such as the electronic health record and drug and lab repositories. It is our hope that individuals in this community will apply and share what they learn from these meetings in their workplace.

What are the long-term goals of the Health Terminologies community?

I believe the long-term goal of the Health Terminologies community is to ensure we have a vibrant group of individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about health terminologies and how they can be used in digital health solutions to help improve the health and well-being of Canadians.

What are the 2019-20 goals for the Health Terminologies community?

As co-chair of this community alongside Marc L’Arrivee, I think the 2019-20 goals will be to work closer with the Health Information Exchange (HIE) community to help ensure terminologies are used appropriately and effectively in digital health applications.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

Since our two daughters moved to Victoria three years ago, my wife and I are having a blast hanging out together. We are doing our best to spoil our 9-year-old grand-daughter and the two grand-dogs. When they come over on the weekends, they just do NOT want to go home, especially the dogs — where else can you get tummy rubs, body massages, hourly treats and walks in the park all in a day? We enjoy every minute of these small but joyous moments.

Join in! The Health Terminologies community meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 11 am ET. The next meeting is on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Join the community to get involved and receive email notification of all Health Terminologies forum posts.

Contact Francis Lau on InfoCentral or LinkedIn.

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