Monday, December 18, 2006

BCS HIF report - The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics

The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics : Health Informatics Forum : BCS

The British Computer Society (BCS) Health Informatics Forum has produced a major new report which reviews the current state of Informatics in the NHS and suggests ways forward. Peter provided a link to this a couple of days ago but I've only just had a chance to read it.

The report suggests that the current problems facing the NHS's IT Programme require a realignment of the National Programme for IT.

According to the BCS Health Informatics Forum Strategic Panel, the NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) programme can still make a massive contribution to safer and more appropriate patient care and remains in full agreement with the Wanless report that 4% of NHS turnover should be spent on business led informatics.

"One of the fundamental goals," according to Dr Glyn Hayes, Chair of BCSHIF, "must be to support the diverse business processes that recognize local constraints and individual patients' values, and focus on delivery and implementation at Trust level. Instead of the current monolithic systems intended to meet most of the needs of users in a local health community, we need a range and choice of more innovative and agile solutions contributing to a common purpose, encouraged within national standards to deliver functionality in whatever way suits the users and suppliers. This should not be interpreted as ruling out adoption of local server provider (LSP) products where they fit the business requirements."

Key recommendations of the report include:

* The Provision of a business context for NPfIT at national and local level.
* A focus on local implementations at Trust and provider unit level, e.g. hospitals, diagnostic & treatment centres, community and mental health Trusts, practices. Providing specialty and service-based systems within provider units will encourage clinical involvement and give quicker benefits.
* There needs to be a major emphasis on standards to enable systems to interoperate effectively, rather than focusing on a few monolithic systems.
* The strategy should be evolutionary, building on what presently works and encouraging convergence to standards over time, rather than revolutionary.
* To adopt a truly patient-centred approach at the local health community level
* There are major issues about the sharing of electronic patient data which need to be resolved. These must not be hijacked by technical issues, and informed patient consent should be paramount.
* Transform NHS CfH into an open partnership with NHS management, users, the informatics community, suppliers, patients and their carers, based on trust and respect.
* The clinical professions, NHS management and informaticians should collaborate to provide clear and comprehensive guidance for all sectors on good record keeping and data management – clinical and other, and embed this in undergraduate and post graduate training. The NHS should facilitate the take-up of this guidance.

I feel the report contains a lot of good ideas, however in addition to the focus on managerial arrangements, current issues around information governance and ownership need greater emphasis along with the clinical benefits which should flow if the systems are put in place appropriately.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Patients win right to keep records off NHS computer | Health |

Patients win right to keep records off NHS computer | Health |

Today's Guardian is reporting that "The government has bowed to privacy concerns about a new NHS computer system and conceded that patients should be allowed a veto on information about their medical history being passed from their GP to a national database."

This follows the letter sent by the Department of Health a couple of weeks ago to those who expressed wories about the proposals.

I think it is also interesting that these reports are still quoting Lord Warner who "retired" earlier this week - & I do wonder why that retirement was announced on a big news day?

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Friday, December 15, 2006

BCSHIF report - where should NHS CfH go from here?

The report 'The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics - Where should NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) go from here?' prepared on behalf of the British Computer Society (BCS) by the BCS Health Informatics Forum Strategic Panel is now available.

A direct link to downloading the report is at:

There is a report on the Daily Telegraph website >>>

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Health Information & Libraries J, Vol 23, Issue s1: Table of Contents

Blackwell Synergy: Health Information & Libraries J, Vol 23, Issue s1: Table of Contents

The latest edition of Blackwell's Health Information and Libraries Journal has just been made available and includes some interesting papers including:

Opportunities and Change: the Future Roles of the Health Library and Information Professionals Editorial
Janet Harrison, Pam Prior

The context of change: information professionals and the information professions in an information society
John Feather

What do clinicians want from us? An evaluation of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust clinical librarian service and its implications for developing future working patterns
Amanda Brookman, Alan Lovell, Flis Henwood, Judy Lehmann

Achieving change through mutual development: supported online learning and the evolving roles of health and information professionals
Rachel Bury, Lindsey Martin, Sue Roberts

Opportunity for change in the future roles for the health library and information professional: meeting the challenges in NHS Scotland
Gerry Maclean

Health check for Latvia: opportunities for information professionals in a new democracy
Inese A. Smith, Velta Poznaka

Development of a Knowledge and Library Service in newly configured specialist mental health teaching trust-the first year
Margery Sidell

Workplace-based information skills outreach training to primary care staff
Stephen Ayre

Stepping out: the changing role of e-resources librarians
Anna O'Neill, Siobahn Whitby

Listening to our clinical colleagues: how are they finding their evidence to support Trust clinical governance?
Mary Publicover, Gwen Giles, Barbara Bolton, Clare Shemilt, Christine Urquhart

Signposting best evidence: a role for information professionals
Mala Mann, Lesley Sander, Alison Weightman

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Digital healthcare: the impact of information and communication technologies on healthcare

Digital healthcare: the impact of information and communication technologies on healthcare

The influential Royal Society has today published it's long awaited report into "The impact of information and communication technologies on healthcare."

I'm still making my way through its 59 pages but it does seem to provide an interesting contribution to current and future debates.

A few of their comments and recommendations jumped out at me as being particularly significant and useful:

"The single most important factor in realising the potential of healthcare ICTs is the people who use them. The end
users of any new technology must be involved at all stages of the design, development and implementation,
taking into account how people work together and how patients, carers and healthcare professionals interact.

"We recommend that the higher education institutions and professional bodies responsible for the different disciplines adapt their curricula to integrate the use and understanding of healthcare ICTs into the basic training and continuing professional development of healthcare professionals."

A long with various recomendations about implementations and research needed to underpin future developments.

For further commentary see:
EHI Existing ICT underused, Royal Society finds

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

NHSu - IC Decision Notice Now available

The Information Commissioners web site now has the Decision notice relating to the Wells report into the NHSuniversity see

You can search for Case ref number: FS50070878 or use the "Authority" drop down list to look at the Department of Health.

Now I'm just waiting for a sight of the actual report which I'm hoping will be posted on the Department of Health's New Publications page

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