On Teaching International Courses on Health Information Systems : Lessons Learned during 16 Years of Frank – van Swieten Lectures on Strategic Information Management in Health Information Systems
Background: Health information systems (HIS) are one of the most important areas for biomedical and health informatics. In order to professionally deal with HIS well-educated informaticians are needed. Because of these reasons, in 2001 an international course has been established: The Frank – van Swieten Lectures on Strategic Information Management of Health Information Systems. Objectives: Reporting about the Frank – van Swieten Lectures and about our students‘ feedback on this course during the last 16 years. Summarizing our lessons learned and making recommendations for such international courses on HIS. Methods: The basic concept of the Frank – van Swieten lectures is to teach the theoretical background in local lectures, to organize practical exercises on modelling sub-information systems of the respective local HIS and finally to conduct Joint Three Days as an international meeting were the resulting models are introduced and compared. Results: During the last 16 years, the Universities of Amsterdam, Braunschweig, Heidelberg/Heilbronn, Leipzig as well as UMIT were involved in running this course. Overall, 517 students from these universities participated. Our students‘ feedback was clearly positive. The Joint Three Days of the Frank – van Swieten Lectures, where at the end of the course all students can meet, turned out to be an important component of this course. Based on the last 16 years, we recommend common teaching materials, agreement on equivalent clinical areas for the exercises, support of group building of international student groups, motivation of using a collaboration platform, ensuring quality management of the course, addressing different levels of knowledge of the students, and ensuring sufficient funding for joint activities. Conclusions: Although associated with considerable additional efforts, we can clearly recommend establishing such international courses on HIS, such as the Frank – van Swieten Lectures.