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The AHT2020 Event, full title "How appropriate healthcare technologies contribute in a public health emergency" was held successfully on Friday 18 September 2020. It consisted of 3 webinars and the event marked the 20th anniversary of our first IET AHT event. The AHT2020 event “How appropriate healthcare technologies contribute in a public health emergency” was held successfully on Friday 18 September 2020. It marked the 20th Anniversary of our first IET appropriate healthcare technologies (AHT) event.

It was originally planned to have a 2-day physical conference and planning was well advanced. However, it became clear in March that the outbreak of COVID-19 would make that impossible. So we opted for an on-line format with a focus on AHT responses to public health emergencies in low resource settings. We hope to get back to a physical conference in 2022.

Because it was an international event, with contributors and attendees from around the world, we decided to have 3 webinars timed to suit those in Asia, Europe and the Americas and there were registrants from more than 20 countries. Delegates were able to attend any, or all, of the webinars which had separate programmes and presentations as follows:

Webinar Session 1: “Health Systems and Public Health in Public Health Emergencies”.

It included a number of digital health applications eg to improve the provision of primary health care, to engage the effects of isolation caused by social distancing, the use of digital twins to improve health & well-being, a review of mobile phone apps including failures and recognition of handwritten Vietnamese Patient Medical Records.  

Webinar Session 2: “Medical Devices for Public Health Emergencies”

This included a ventilator project, vital signs monitoring, wearable sensors, AI to analyse X-rays and a vein finder.

Webinar Session 3: “Digital Technologies and HTM in Public Health Emergencies”

This included digital technologies to facilitate the management of diseases such as dengue and the management of a complex integrated health and care system, inappropriate equipment donations and the relationship between hospital technology management (HTM) and health system resilience (HSR).

Our 3 Keynote Speakers were Adriana Velazquez Berumen (World Health Organization), Professor Rebecca Shipley (University College, London) and Tom Judd (International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering). There were also Keynote Presentations from the Wellcome Trust Innovation Team, Royal Academy of Engineering and UNICEF.

All the presentations were expertly pre-recorded by IET-tv and made available for delegates to view for one week before the webinars. The webinars were Q & A sessions where the keynotes and project presenters expertly answered the questions put to them.

All the videos of the presentations of the Keynote Speakers & Organisations and Projects are available to watch at https://tv.theiet.org/?event=6804 . The recordings of the 3 webinars with the Q & A Sessions are available to those who registered for those webinars through their personal link(s).

Although, these webinars were, of course, on-line events, nevertheless, a number of new contacts have been made and the profile of the IET’s Healthcare Technologies Network (HT TPN) and the IET as a whole has been raised with people such as healthcare technologists and clinicians around the world and organisations such as the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust Innovations Team, UNICEF, RAEng and the International Federation of Medical & Biological Engineering.

We are most grateful to The Institution of Mechanical Engineers for kindly offering a prize for the best project presentation and this was won by the Neopenda team for their vital signs monitor

project with wearable monitors, initially for neonates but with future adaptations for infants and adults.

Our warm gratitude is due to the Keynotes and all presenters; for all at the IET, especially Gemma Hadley, Community Manager, HT TPN and to IET-tv; my Co-Chair Andrew Gammie, Organising Committee Members, Dr.Louise Thwaites and Heloise Greeff, the Paper Review Committee and everyone who helped to make these webinars possible.

Look out for future publicity for AHT2022, our next AHT event.

Len Cornish

Co-Chair, AHT2020

Member, Technical Advisory Panel, IET’s Healthcare Technology Network