In Memory of Francis Roger France – A Belgium Pioneer in Medical Informatics
It is with great sorrow that we share the news about the passing of Dr. Francis Roger France with the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) community. IMIA shares the loss of Dr. Roger France with our good friends, the Belgium Medical Informatics Association (mim), and the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI). We extend our thoughts to all his colleagues and to his family during this time.
Dr. Roger France was born in Etterbeek (Brussels), Belgium in a family that contributed to open his mind to health, economics and information processing. He worked as Associate Chief of Service for General Internal Medicine (St Luc Hospital in Brussels (1988-2006) and President of the School of Public Health of the U.C.L. (1995-2001). As Professor, Francis was a teacher of the first courses of Medical informatics in Belgium (since 1968, at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Louvain, U.C.L).
He was an author of a book “Médecine et Informatique” (Maloine, Paris, 1979), largely diffused in French speaking countries, a basis for students notes and an introduction for the public. Also he was author of recommendations issued by the Council of Europe in 1984 for education and training in Medical informatics in Europe. Professor Francis contributed to the Development of Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the Center for Medical Informatics, (UCL), and trials for archiving medical records on computerized systems, using a unit record by patient. He was an author of the European MBDS (Minimum Basic Data Set) allowing to register all diagnoses by hospital stay and by patient, enabling to link diagnoses to activities and costs, to estimate severity of cases and to measure quality of care. (document EUR 7162, EEC 1981) (Thèse d’agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur).
He was the president of the AIM (Advanced Informatics in Medicine) Requirements Board of the European Commission that led to a large number of AIM international projects. He contributed to the development of an infrastructure for research in Medical Informatics in Europe (FRF and G. Santucci, Springer Verlag, Berlin, New York, 1991). He participated to EEC research projects: (EHR, security, DRGs, telemedicine) and Information analysis of the diagnostic process (from case studies of the NEJM) in order to apply it in Internal medicine, in association of a modified version of the “Problem oriented medical record” proposed by L. Weed; Methods and issues for security in health informatics. His special interest was for applications of Telemedicine, especially in case of major disasters (Tsunami) and – How to organize health practice in future? Professor Francis was: a founding member and President of Scientific Societies in Medical Informatics; the MIM (Belgium), EFMI past President and Honorary Fellow; IMIA founding member and Vice President; Expert to Ministers of Health and Social Security in Belgium who introduced a new financing system for hospital inpatients; President of the Commission Norms for informatics in the health care sector; International expert for governments (Ireland, Italy, Portugal, etc.); member of Committees (CNEH in France, Swiss Parliament, etc.); as well as in most Eastern European countries and in Asia (Japan) mainly for security issues and health economics. Also, he was Expert to EEC, WHO, Council of Europe and the World Bank for the development of indicators of quality of care, for the use of terminology in EHR and statistical, ethical or educational issues.
He was an Honorary Fellow of EFMI, the European Federation of Medical Informatics, and was elected to IMIA’s Academy, the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI), as part of the Inaugural Class of Fellows in 2017.