Keynote Speaker Reveals How SERVICES 2019 Congress in July Will Detail a New Digital Health Economy for Industry Leaders

By Lori Cameron
Published 06/10/2019
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The 15th Annual SERVICES 2019 Congress is just around the corner (July 8-13) as computing professionals make plans to converge on Milan, Italy, to discuss service computing’s relentless need for advances in performance, security, dependability, reusability, interoperability, and cost-effectiveness.

Among the keynote speakers will be Sumi Helal, who is professor and chair in digital health at Lancaster University as well as a pioneer and recognized leader in the field of pervasive and ubiquitous computing. His ground-breaking work in pervasive computing, mobile computing, and the Internet of Things has led to the development of human-centric applications in the domains of aging, personal health, and disability.Sumi-Helal

“Without a truly interdisciplinary approach we will be canoeing with one paddle.” 

Helal leads interdisciplinary research and initiatives in digital health in both the School of Computing and Communications and the Division of Health Research at Lancaster.

In advance of the conference, we asked Helal what healthcare industry professionals can expect from this year’s event.

Computer Society: Give us your best pitch for your keynote speech: What would be the most valuable takeaway for your audiences?

Helal: The key take-home message for healthcare providers and digital health engineers is simply this: A microservices structuring of health and social care across the demand and delivery sides has the potential to integrate and transform health and social care systems, radically cutting costs and improving health outcomes and quality of care, all while effecting an ecosystem shift in which a new health economy may be unleashed in the process.

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Computer Society: How will this technology be put into practice?

Helal: To further explain at an implementational level, the microservices approach will effectively introduce the “Uber” of integrated healthcare in which micro-tasks — that are part of the integrated healthcare delivery and that might not require medical or specialized expertise — can be crowd-sourced to trusted capable roles and trained members of the community.

Computer Society: What will be the biggest challenge in services computing over the next five years?

Helal: While looking at the health and integrated care system through services’ spectacles reveals significant opportunities for promoting digital health by engaging multiple and new roles including communities in their own integrated healthcare delivery, many challenges remain to be overcome. One major challenge is to get the healthcare providers and their health IT backing industry to be active participants in this SERVICES Congress.

Computer Society: How important are other disciplines in addressing the challenges in developing healthcare services tech?

Helal: Without a truly interdisciplinary approach we will be canoeing with one paddle. To this end, SERVICES 2019 is launching the first Digital Health As A Service Symposium (DHAASS) to bring together academic leaders from computing and health and medicine, along with world-class agents of change from healthcare and social care delivery organizations—notably the Finnish Eksote implementation and experience. We hope to be successful in overcoming this specific challenge.

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Computer Society: What is the best part of having a large cross-section of disciplines at the same conference?

Helal: An interdisciplinary audience is the secret sauce to and the fastest route to effecting transformation. Services is indeed a powerful theme that has obviously been proven to attract a broad audience seeking solutions to various challenging problems.

Computer Society: What you are most looking forward to at this year’s conference?

Helal: I am hoping for success in establishing digital health and health microservices as one of the key emphasis areas of services and to use such success to organize a large interdisciplinary community that will eventually be able to have a transformational impact on healthcare systems around the world.

Computer Society: What do you hope to get out of the conference?

Helal: Learning the latest from some of the symposiums and, again, I hope that my efforts with Professor Carl Chang as DHAASS symposium general chairs conclude successfully.

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SERVICES Symposia and Co-Located Events

The Digital Health as a Service Symposium (DHAASS) is a part of a brand new 2019 World Congress on SERVICES symposia program. The program will feature academic and industry leaders discussing state-of-the-art research and development in a number of topics related to services.

The Congress also features these seven co-located conferences solely sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society:

  1. IEEE International Congress on Big Data
  2. IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing
  3. IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing
  4. IEEE International Congress on Cognitive Computing
  5. IEEE International Congress on Internet of Things Services
  6. IEEE International Conference on Web Services
  7. IEEE International Conference on Services Computing


Professor Sumi Helal, chair in digital health at Lancaster University, describes the university’s role as a key partner in the Lancashire and Cumbria Innovation Alliance, an NHS England Test Bed, and in projects such as Whyndyke Garden Village—an NHS Healthy New Town project. The university has a strong focus on active and healthy living and is building a new health innovation campus, due to open in autumn 2019. In this video, Helal was speaking at the Innovation Agency’s Eco17 event, which was held at Lancaster University in December 2018 and focused on transforming care through digital health.



About Lori Cameron

Lori Cameron is Senior Writer for IEEE Computer Society publications and digital media platforms with over 20 years extensive technical writing experience. She is a part-time English professor and winner of two 2018 LA Press Club Awards. Contact her at Follow her on LinkedIn.