MEDICAL informatics - the use of information technology in a medical setting - is receiving increasing attention in Hong Kong. According to Dr Wong Chun-por, seven-year chairman of the Hong Kong Society for Medical Informatics, since 1990 local technology exhibitions have increasingly displayed medical-related information technology - and Asian IT Expo '94 will be no exception. 'Every year we work with Adsale [the organiser of Asian IT Expo '94] to have medical informatics in their exhibition,' Dr Wong said. 'This year we are fortunate to have support from the Hospital Authority.' In fact, seven of the nine displays at the Medical Informatics Pavilion will be from the Hospital Authority, including pilot projects of systems to be used in Hong Kong's public hospitals. The authority's outpatient system, which is used by many outpatient clinics, will be on display. The system provides a computerised system for appointment management and registration of patients. A related technology being demonstrated is an optical patient card system which would allow patient medical records to be stored on a card similar to a credit card. The card could store text and image files which could then be viewed at different hospitals. For use in wards, a drug dispensing system called Unit Dose will be on show. The system is part of current efforts to reform the dispensing of drugs on hospital wards so that with the help of a computer, individualised dispensing will be possible and the risk of human-introduced error will be decreased. Also useful will be a ward order entry system which will allow lab orders, meal and clothing orders and X-ray requests to be centrally co-ordinated by computer. In clinical settings, the clinical workstation is already in widespread use in some accident and emergency departments in Hong Kong. It is used as an aid by doctors and nurses for recording pertinent trauma information and in prescribing drugs and ordering X-rays and other tests. Aimed at patients, the Hospital Authority will also be demonstrating its Educational Health Information System which, using a touch-screen interface, will provide access to 150 health promotion pamphlets which have been stored in it. It is hoped that this device will be used in clinic and outpatient waiting rooms. In addition to the seven displays by the Hospital Authority, the Hong Kong Society for Medical Informatics will be demonstrating the use of the Internet by the medical profession and highlighting the sources of information for doctors and nurses which are available on the information superhighway while the Nurses Informatics Group will be showing examples of the use of computers in nursing education.