Monday, January 29, 2007

South African medical blog

I recently came across a South African medical blog that may be of interest to some people. Titled 'All scrubbed up' (, it has a variety of stories about health care in South Africa.

What initially got me interested was their story about trying to encourage the development of a 'Medical Ubuntu' Linux distro - see stories at [1] and [2] in particular.

Apparently there is growing interest in health-oriented open source products (despite the best attempts of NPfIT and Uncle Bill); I will post again about any further developments.

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Petition to the EU free and open access to research results

A petition, sponsored by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee, UK), SURF (Netherlands), SPARC Europe, DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany), DEFF (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek, Denmark), is currently available for people to sign at

The petition calls on the EC to formally endorse the recommendations outlined in the EC-commissioned Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe. Published in early 2006, the study made a number of important recommendations to help ensure the widest possible readership for scholarly articles. In particular, the first recommendation called for 'Guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research results shortly after publication'.

The EC-commissioned Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe is available at:

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Swams of Nurse Bots

The IWARD European project has announced plans to develop "Nurse Bots" by 2010 at a cost of 3.88 million euro.

Most of the tasks described as being potentially carried out by robots acting as a dynamic swarm are probably portering/cleaning rather than nursing, however proposals for a thermal imaging camera it could observe the patient to see if they are too hot or cold, could be interesting. suggests that they could "help to keep wards cleaner and cut infections by hospital super bugs such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)".

A comment attached to the story on EHealth Insider suggests "we are struggling to produce consistent letters to patients which contain the details they need for their appointments with one of the LSP systems and yet we are confident we would relatively soon let a robot push a patient round a hospital in a wheelchair" and questioning whether "they would arrive intact in the right place at the right time".

A brave new world is envisioned - but perhaps as well as this far thinking "blue skies" research we need to be making sure we get the basics right.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

2006 Medical Weblog Awards: Polls Are Open!

2006 Medical Weblog Awards: Polls Are Open! - Medgadget -

The third annual Medical Weblog Awards are now being voted on These awards are designed to honor the very best in the medical blogosphere, and to highlight the diverse world of medical blogs.

The categories for this year's awards will be:

-- Best Medical Weblog

-- Best New Medical Weblog (established in 2006)

-- Best Literary Medical Weblog

-- Best Clinical Sciences Weblog

-- Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog

-- Best Medical Technologies/Informatics Weblog

-- Best Patient's Blog (a new category this year)

Informaticopia is a candidate in the Medical Technologies/Informatic category if anyone fancies voting - but it is worth taking a look just to see the range & quality of medical related blogs out there.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

NHSu report - DoH has appealed

Happy New year.

As regular readers of this blog will know I have been trying, for over 2 years, to get the Department of Health to disclose the report by Sir William Wells into the NHS University.

At the end of November I thought this had suceeded when the Information Commisioner issued his decision notice agreeing with me that it was in the public interest for the report to be published and ordering the department of health to disclose it within 35 days.

I have been watching for this over Christmas and New year and the 35 days expired a few days ago & I hadn't seen it.

I have found out today that the Department of Health appealed, on 21st December, to the Information Tribunal. Although I have not seen a copy of the appeal I understand it argues that the Information Commissioner was wrong in his application of sections 33, 35(1)(a), 40(2) and 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The appeal has been sent to the information commissioner and then the chair of the information tribunal will rule on what is to be done next. I do not know how long this will take but will post it here when I find out anything further.

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