Professor Joel Rodrigues discusses HEALTHCOM 2013, some breakthoughs that he expects in Health Communications, and his research work in the field.
IEEE tv: What are the key benefits of the Healthcom ’13 Conference?
Joel Rodrigues: IEEE Healthcom 2013 is bringing together interested parties from the world, working in the healthcare field to exchange ideas, to discuss innovative healthcare solutions, and to develop collaborations. The conference offers an excellent program and addresses the new frontiers of healthcare technologies, and brings together experienced people from academia, and also industry who come to Lisbon to share their expertise and new ideas. We also offer an expo with the key players around the world of health technologies. Furthermore, we offer our guests and attendees a social program where they can visit Lisbon and its surroundings; and have a pleasant time here in our beautiful capital.
IEEE tv: What health communications breakthroughs are exciting to you?
Joel Rodrigues: First of all, we identify mobile solutions, since with mobile health solutions we can offer, wirelessly, breakthrough solutions that increases the quality of life for our patients and their caretakers. On another important issue is the area of bio-sensing and all these issues related with bio-feedback and health parameters monitoring; mainly considering real-time applications and their implications in the patient’s quality of life. Another important issue comes from assisted living scenarios where we can offer enormous good solutions to our patients, and at the same time we can overlap to take care of enormous challenges presented by elderly people and at the same time, by chronic diseases. So I believe that in the near future patients can use, more and more, the technology in order to take care of their own health in order to prevent accidents, and at the same time trying to take care of their own health.
IEEE tv: How did you become interested in applying technology to Life Science problems?
Joel Rodrigues: I woke up to these problems upon my graduation, a long time ago, when I was young and started a serious relationship with my girlfriend at the time. She was a medicine student, and is now my wife. In fact, I performed the final graduation project at Coimbra University hospital, where I was working on an expert system to diagnose cancer. After I worked there in network and system administration, and they started a new university hospital at Covilhã, the city where I am living now, and where my university is located. So currently, in terms of research, I am researching health topics with my research group on things like mobile health technologies and applications and assisted living situations with mobility support. I am also working on mobile health solutions taking also into account, the importance of cloud computing for e-health also belong to my research topics.
IEEE tv: What advice can you offer students entering the Life Sciences field?
Joel Rodrigues: The students that decide to work in life sciences are very welcome to one of the most exciting research areas with many challenges and open issues. To perform good research on these topics, I believe it is important to have a strong background in several technologies since we try to create and demonstrate holistic solutions that make good contributions from different technologies. So, it is important that students know different kind of technologies in order to get the best solutions. We work on health information systems, computer networks, image processing, biometrics, body sensors, mobile solutions, human-device interaction, optimization. We can also use artificial intelligence, design optimization, etc. So summarizing, this research topic is very broad, with strong backgrounds in different technologies, but also from other science-related human science and behavior, has value to create better and innovative solutions to really help human life. It is important to mention that students really will enjoy working in this life science field since they will take the experience that they can help the life of handicapped people; they can really help the lives of people, in general.
IEEE tv: What message would you like to give the Life Sciences Community?
Joel Rodrigues: It is my great pleasure to share this message with my colleagues around the world. It is true that we belong to a very active community working on broad research topics that cover many issues related to the life sciences, and can also gather contributions for many areas – interoperability, integrating technologies and extracting the best from different worlds. I believe it is a major challenge. We work on the frontiers of new knowledge, and we are very pleased and motivated to create innovative solutions that will influence the health and the quality of life of the patients, and the people in general.
They are going to develop the devices that are mobile and with less and less size, including nano technology, offer new challenges for research topics, and new research problems are being identified. So, I believe that with new health information systems, social networks, and immediate, real-time communications the relationship among health professionals and patients are changing – then our community plays a key role in these developments. I would like to send to all the community a special greeting from Portugal, now here in Lisbon, at the IEEE Healthcom 2013 meeting of Life Sciences.
Thank you so much.
Joel José P. C. Rodrigues (S’01, M’06, SM’06) is a professor in the Department of Informatics of the University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal, and researcher at the Instituto de Telecomunicações, Portugal. He received a PhD degree in informatics engineering from the University of Beira Interior. His main research interests include sensor networks, e-health, e-learning, vehicular delay-tolerant networks, and mobile and ubiquitous computing. Read more