Hong Kong's entry "Policing Disease" was named one of the winners in the Stockholm Challenge Award in Sweden.
The entry from the Health, Welfare & Food Bureau featuring the innovative application of the Police's Major Incident Investigation & Disaster Support System, or MIIDSS, in collaboration with the Department of Health's Case Contact Information System and the Hospital Authority's eSARS for use in contact tracing of potential SARS carriers during last year's outbreak won the top honour in the Health category.
"The award is a recognition of the innovation and flexibility of the healthcare professionals and civil servants in successfully combining the criminal tracking system with the Hospital Authority's bedside clinical information for tracing close contacts of SARS patients, which was instrumental in turning the tide in our combat against the epidemic last year," Secretary for Health, Welfare & Food Dr Yeoh Eng-kiong said.
"Without this system, we could not have identified most of the 26,000 contacts of suspected and confirmed SARS patients within the peak period of April last year. This timely identification followed by swift isolation action was pivotal to controlling the outbreak."
Nearly 900 projects from 107 countries competed this year
There were nearly 900 projects from 107 countries competing for this year's awards under six categories, namely e-government, culture, health, education, e-business and environment. This year's finalists came from 40 countries. A panel of international IT experts evaluated the entries on four criteria - innovation, user need, sustainability and transferability.
Panel members were impressed by Hong Kong's innovative application of the IT system of its police force that was used to track down criminals and turned it into a smart tracking system to identify the chain of human transmission of SARS. The MIIDSS identified "hot-spots" of infection which would give rise to suspicion of an environmental factor for the spread of SARS.
The organiser has also invited the Hong Kong delegation to set up an exhibition booth to showcase the system at the Global Forum - Networking & Exhibition.
This is the second time that Hong Kong has received the top honour in the Stockholm Challenge Award. In 2001, the then Information Technology & Broadcasting Bureau's entry - Electronic Service Delivery Scheme - won the category in Public Services and Democracy.
The Stockholm Challenge Award, organised annually by the city of Stockholm, is an international award programme in information technology that helped to make the city a hub in a global movement to bridge the digital divide.
Prize reinforces HK's image as leading digital city
Speaking on Hong Kong's success after the prize presentation ceremony in Stockholm, Permanent Secretary for Health, Welfare & Food Carrie Yau said the prize demonstrated Hong Kong's competitive position as a city of innovation and reinforced its image as a leading digital city in the globally connected world.
Apart from leading a delegation to Stockholm for the award competition and participating in the Global Forum - Networking & Exhibition, Mrs Yau met senior Swedish officials responsible for health and food during her stay.
Mrs Yau will also visit Finland and the Netherlands, two of the most web-savvy countries in the world.
"These countries are remarkable for the way in which citizens have incorporated Internet technology in their daily routines and have enjoyed more user friendly and efficient public services including health care services," she said.
Officials to share in on preventing communicable disease
The Finnish Government invited Mrs Yau to visit to share Hong Kong's experience in communicable disease prevention, in particular avian influenza and SARS.
Mrs Yau will leave Stockholm on May 14 and will return to Hong Kong on May 19.
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