Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"National" NHS elearning system

The British Journal of Healthcare Computing and Information Management is currently carrying a news story "NHS to deploy national system for elearning" about the provision of a National Learning Management System (NLMS) as part of the NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR).

This will provide both individual employees and their managers access to each persons record of learning. The new system is supposed to be piloted from June 2008 and is expected to be made available nationally by September 2008.

It will be interesting to see if this "national" system for England will be able to exchange data and resources with the system currently being purchased for NHS Scotland, and whether any testing has been done to see whether the system can exchange records with the systems used in universities and other educational organisations which deliver much of the learning (and elearning) for NHS staff.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Full text of Downing Street briefing

The 2002 Downing Street briefing about NHS IT discussed below has now been realesed in full text on the wikileaks web site under the heading "Tony Blair 2002 NHS IT briefing" at .

Wikileaks is an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface. Comment and discussion, which can be anonymous, is welcomed on the site.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The meeting which started NPfIT

Computer weekly has several pieces themed around the papers recently released after 3 years of a Freedom of Information Act request. There give some detail about the briefing held in Feb 2002 at which Department of Health staff and industry advisers from Microsoft UK and Cisco laid out plans for IT in the NHS to Tony Blair and several ministers.

* Was NHS IT plan agreed before Downing St meeting?

* Secret papers reveal Blair's rushed NPfIT plans

Coming in the week when we hear that "More than £4bn spent on NPfIT by April 2008" they illustrate the lack of careful planning on which the whole enterprise was based.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

HC2008 conferences

Unfortunately I will not be in the country to attend the HC2008 event which is to be held in Harrogate UK on the 21st-23rd April.

This year the format has been changed to cover the key areas:
* the implementation of national programmes;
* current priorities and forthcoming challenges;
* making innovative technologies work;
* improving the capability and capacity of the healthcare-informatics workforce;
* management of patient safety and privacy;
* using information and ICT to provide better care and support for disabled, elderly and otherwise infirm or vulnerable people;
* delivery of multidisciplinary care across sectors;
* practical issues in, and funding for, informatics research;
* transformation of services; and
* understanding how healthcare works.

A brief description of each conference may be found at

Or click on the following link for a quick overview by day

Patient access to their health records

A paper by Chesire GP Amir Hannan entitled "The Paradigm Shift in Healthcare - overcoming challenges in giving patients access to their electronic records" appeared in the first edition (Jan 2008) of the new Journal of Communication in Healthcare.

In the article which is available in full text at
he suggests that "Changes in society mean that patients may now have the opportunity and desire to view their electronic health record and share it with others electronically". The paper goes on to explore many of the drivers and barriers to achieving this ideal. He concludes that "Properly implemented, this will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of healthcare
delivery and outcomes and a further strengthening of the ‘partnership of trust’," and that "Communication between, and learning from, doctors and patients will further support the paradigm shift in healthcare and movement into ‘real-time digital medicine’.

This article was first published in Journal of Communication in Healthcare Volume One Number One (January 2008). For further details on forthcoming content and how to subscribe, visit:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Forthcoming release of "Downing Street Papers" re NPfIT

After three years of requests under the Freedom of Information Act Tony Collins of Computer Weekly has finally been successful in his campaign for the release of the briefing papers which led to the creation of the National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) in the UK's National Health Service.

A piece entitled "Secrets of Blair briefing on NPfIT to be surrendered" gives further information about the process which has finally led to the release which is expected this week. In a similar way to my own campaign for the release of the report into the NHSu the cabinet office have withdrawn their appeal against the Information Commissioners ruling just before the case reached the Information Tribunal.

I'm sure the papers will make interesting reading.

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