Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Health Informatics Research Lab

Swansea University have launched a research laboratory, which will help find innovative new ways of treating patients, by simulating a range of healthcare settings experienced by patients so that innovative new technology can be tested before being introduced.

The laboratory aims to:
* use the latest technology to evaluate new ideas and treatment methods and work with current computer systems in the NHS to identify ways to further join up services to improve care for patients;
* bring together researchers, clinicians, and commercial companies to find innovations in healthcare;
* capitalise on existing knowledge and skills at Swansea University and in the NHS and develop Wales' knowledge-based economy;
* provide opportunities for Welsh healthcare companies to develop their skills and products; and
* enable new innovations to be shared with other health services across the UK and the world.

If the lab really can test out and evaluate information systems, in a realistic environment, ensuring that they meet "clinicians' requirements and ensure that they are satisfactory for the safe delivery of patient care", then the potential benefits will be significant & it may help to avoid some delays and errors which have occurred elsewhere.

I should declare an interest as I'm the external examiner for the MSc Health Informatics at Swansea and hope the students on that course will get the opportunity to use these facilities, but I hope that it will have benefits for health informatics and health services, not just in Wales but also more widely.

Monday, June 23, 2008

UWE pioneers health training using new NHS records software

University partners with Cerner to train nurses and health staff to use electronic patient records

Bristol. 23rd June 2008 - To continue its healthcare education leadership, the University of the West of England (UWE) today announces that it will implement the Cerner Academic Education Solution (AES) to train nursing and other health staff on how to use the new electronic patient record system being implemented for the NHS. As the NHS moves toward the use of electronic health records for all patients, the new project means nursing and other health sciences students at UWE will have the opportunity to use similar software to that being introduced in hospitals.

The NHS will use software from Cerner, a major global healthcare information technology (HIT) company, to provide the electronic health records in a large number of its hospitals. The Cerner AES is the only full clinical information system adapted to support healthcare curricula and classroom instruction. By selecting Cerner, UWE chose a supplier with a proven track record. Cerner is the market leader in providing educational HIT solutions, with more than 7,000 students at 40 campuses around the world using the Cerner AES. UWE is partnering with Cerner to adapt the system for the English healthcare practice and the UK curriculum. UWE students will begin using the Cerner AES in September 2008.

Professor John Duffield, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, UWE said: “This partnership is a great opportunity to keep nursing education at UWE at the forefront of current healthcare practice, ensuring that our students are fully prepared for the environments in which they are going to be caring for patients and clients.”

“The use of Cerner AES solution will form a key part of our curriculum as a foundation for evidence-based clinical practice, supporting development of critical-thinking skills and enhancing unidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education. It is capable of being used with human patient simulators and will be available online anywhere anytime.”

Alan Fowles, Vice President, Cerner Limited said: “As healthcare embraces the digital age, the incoming workforce will need to ensure they have a high degree of knowledge and understanding of how healthcare technologies work. A significant number of Trusts in the UK use, or are ready to implement, the Cerner Millennium® healthcare computing platform. By partnering with us to use the Cerner AES solution, UWE will be able to prepare the nurses and healthcare professionals of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills required to work in the NHS, allowing them to focus on the best patient care possible.”

Editor's notes

• UWE’s School of Health and Social Care is nationally and internationally recognised for its dynamic, outstanding and highly creative contributions to policy and practice. The School is primarily based at the Glenside Campus in Bristol and has regional centres in Bath, Gloucester and Swindon. For more information visit
• About Cerner: Cerner is taking the paper chart out of healthcare, eliminating error, variance and waste in the care process. With more than 6,000 clients worldwide, Cerner is the leading supplier of healthcare information technology. The following are trademarks of Cerner: Cerner and Cerner Millennium. (NASDAQ: CERN),

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Children's Web site takes mystery, fear out of hospital stay

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., uses an interactive Web site to help pediatric patients prepare for their hospital stay, treatments and surgery. A team of nurses created the site to take the fear and mystery out of going to the hospital.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CfH Conference - The Information Revolution

Today I attended the annual Connecting for Health Conference for Nurses, Midwives & Healthcare Practitioners entitled "Culture Change in Professional Practice - The Information Revolution".

This years event was held at Central Hall, Westminster and was less busy and exciting than the first event I attended a couple of years ago, with less than 200 booking for the event & quite a few of them not attending (and quite a few leaving early).

Although I arrived a little late because of delays (again) on First Late Western Trains, I caught most of the welcome and introduction by Barbara Stuttle and Susan Osborne, Connecting for Health's National Clinical Leads for Nurses. They gave some standard messages about the integration of systems and current drivers in the NHS with a particular focus on providing "connected care in the community" based on risk and demographic change.

The first keynote speaker was Dame Christine Beasley, the Chief Nursing Officer at the Department of Health. She highlighted the complexity of care and listed the "achievements" of Connecting for Health - a list of figures obviously provided by one of her staff and which didn't stand up to too much scrutiny. She mentioned her visit yesterday when she had seen the "Mobile Clinical Assistant", which is basically a robust laptop which can be disinfected, in practice (see Intel , Motion Computing etc.) She highlighted safety issues, particularly related drugs and polypharmacy, and emphasised the importance of HealthSpace (which is unavailable as I write this). A final mention was made that a National Director for Nursing is to be appointed in Connecting for Health and within her organisation chart this role was seen as being fairly high level - with the "Clinical Leads" reporting to them. It will be interesting to see who is appointed to this role - and whether they make a difference in terms of engagement with the professions and to the culture of CfH.

The coffee break was followed by three "knowledge sessions". The first of these was by Gill Stollen (?sp) talking about Lorenzo development. She started from a historical perspective related to paper records - and asked for nurses to tell them what the Lorenzo releases should do. Several speakers during the day repeated this request for nurses to get involved and help to specify what the systems, which are under development, should help nurses in their practice. The thought which came to my mind was that CfH should have involved clinicians when the original specifications were drawn up five years ago & maybe they would be further along with implementation (and have more NHS staff "on board") than they have at present.

The second knowledge session was about clinical assisstive technology (which I would call telehealth) led by George MacGinnis (Assistive Technology Programme Manager, NHS Connecting for Health), who was wearing his falls monitor! This session also included Helen Rollins a community matron in Swindon. She described a program which has put blood pressure, pulse oximetry etc monitors, and scales into the homes of patients with COPD connecting to a monitoring centre. Staff at the centreare able to detect changes in patients conditions enabling intervention where needed. The examples of success, which she described, have led to further developments, with blood sugar and other monitors being connected to the system via a variety of peripherals. She also touched on the interface between health and social care - including who should be funding this work.

The next presentation was by Mike McAtominey about the new Essential IT Skills programme which has replaced the ECDL as basic IT skills training provision in the NHS and NHS Health which teaches staff about Information Governance. He did say that this was being made available to students in Universities on NHS related courses and I will have to follow this information up. I picked up a copy of the training materials, which have been developed by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, in the exhibition and will be taking a look at them when I get some time.

During the morning delegates had been encouraged to write questions on slips of paper for a panel session which convened after lunch. The panel included: Susan Osborne (National Clinical Lead for Nurses), Michael Thick (Chief Clinical Officer for Connecting for Health), Ian Cowles (Group Director NHS CRS Implementation), Marlene Winfield (National Patient Lead NHS Connecting for Health), Julie Tindale (National Clinical Lead for Midwifery) and Yvonne Pettigrew (National Clinical Lead for Allied Health Professions) with the questions being selected and put by Barbara Stuttle. The questions put to the panel touched on a variety of topics, but a cynic might suggest they had been selected to enable the panel to give their "set pieces". A question about Local Ownership and clinical engagement brought nice phrases about SHA clinical leads been "brought on board"; partnership working with social services about assisstive technology brought platitudes about shared budgets and a question about system failures and downtime - brought claims about the national spine being available 99.99% of the time.

There were various other questions but what really annoyed me about this session wasn't the fact that none of my SIX (awkward) questions was put, but that when statements were made by the panel no follow up questions or comments were allowed from the floor. Two particular statements which I wanted to respond to were a statement that everyone had the right to opt out of having a summary care record - which I believe is untrue as you have to have a record (otherwise your GP and others in the NHS will not be able to treat you) but that you can refuse consent for it to be shared - and even this is limited. One of my questions that wasn't asked was about the evaluation report on the Summary Care Record early adopter sites and its recommendation that England move to the approach being taken in Scotland and Wales to "consent to view". The other statement which I felt needed further exploration was that Connecting for Health is paying for 90% of implementation costs - if you talk to local trusts etc you get a different story where, even if they use the software products being provided by Connecting for Health, the hardware and training costs are the ones they are having difficulty in meeting.

Barbara did say to me privately that the answers to questions that were put and those that weren't will be put on the Connecting for Health web site (if & when I find them I will add a link) - and asked me to email her my concerns about the answers given - I will sent her the URL for this blog post and offer the opportunity to post a comment in response & see what response I get. The controlled format of this session and refusal to take questions or comments doesn't bode well for the new culture of openness I thought we might see after the departure of Richard Granger as Director General. It might also be a response to last weeks vote by GPs at the BMA’s annual Local Medical Committees conference expressing no confidence in the government’s ability to store electronic patient records safely, and backing calls to support patients who wish to opt-out of the Summary Care Record (SCR), and a motion calling for a halt on any further development of plans to develop Care Records Service plans.

The following speakers, to a dwindling audience, included Keith Ward from the University of Huddersfield who talked about his Nursing Documentation Project which included an examination of 10,000 nursing records and nine months of observation. He described the use of an intuitive humanist model which conflicted with the "medical" information processing model, which he saw as underpinning the development of software systems within Connecting for Health. He suggested that "algorithm approaches" are deskilling nurses and how requests for data recording, which was not relevant to nursing care amounted to "cumulative unreasonableness".

Kathy Sienko from Cerner talked about the importance of preparing the professional workforce for the digital environment and some of the vital issues which need to be addressed before systems go live.

The final speaker was Simon Eccles (National Clinical Director, Secondary Care, NHS Connecting for Health) who urged everyone to get involved and gave a first look at their new DVD which is supposed to persuade everyone of the benefits of Connecting for Health. The short versions we were shown (with lift music) will not, in my humble opinion, achieve this, but I will reserve judgement until I've had more time to review it more fully.

The conference closed with more exhortations from various of the clinical leads for everyone to get on board.

Although it was a nice opportunity to meet up with some old colleagues I left the conference feeling disheartened, and unless they are likely to change significantly I will not be attending one of these again.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Free Webinar: Accessibility of Next Generation Web Applications: An Overview of Web 2.0

Thursday, June 19, 2 PM EASTERN (New York time)
Presenter: Jared Smith from WebAIM
Register at:

The term "Web 2.0" is being used to describe new methods of using the web, innovative technologies, and next generation web applications. AJAX, blogging, wikis, content aggregation, tagging, and mashups arejust a few components of "Web 2.0". Even if we have not reached a new version of the web, these new technologies and ways of using the web represent a significant change.

Despite the issues that Web 2.0 technologies may have on accessibility, the very nature of these applications can potentially result in much higher levels of accessibility for people with disabilities. This session will provide an overview of what Web 2.0 is, how it can impact users with disabilities for good and for bad, and some approaches and techniquesfor addressing accessibility.

Register for this free Webinar on Web 2.0

Carolyn Dudas
Web Developer/Information Specialist
Penn State Behrend
4205 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563-1201

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Friday, June 13, 2008

2 Telehealth iterms of interest, and sign me up for my annual physical for the second item...

2 Telehealth iterms of interest, and sign me up for my annual physical for the second item...Thanks to Guy Dewsbury for the links.

Telecare a key tactic to improve health & well-being of UK’s 6 million carers

Cell Phone-Sensor Technology Used For Prostate Tests


Web2.0 implications for doctors

There is an interesting blog post by Richard Smith at the BMJ entitled Get with Web 2.0 or become yesterday’s person focusing on generational, educational, cultural, linguistic, and psychological barriers to wider adoption.

He suggests that doctors are "too fond of a top down world—because they are usually at the top" and suggests that the social web means that the "top down world is crumbling".

Despite his advocacy, the difficulties I'm having in managing to register with the BMJ site to post a comment suggest that his assertion that "The machines we can fix. It’s the people—particularly old timers (that’s anybody over 40, I’m 56)—that are the problem" is not necessarily true yet.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Jacob Weiss is so busy working on his awesome new Drupal site I bet he's not going to have time to let you all know about it. But it's official. It launched yesterday to critical acclaim.

Check it out:

CanConnect... Middle Tennessee's first ever online community for cancer survivorship.

Source: Anna Belle Leiserson
Web Coordinator
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

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Web 2.0 and the implications of the web based personal health record- UK Department of Health and i4i sponsored research scoping project launched

Rod has kindly allowed me to post into his blog in order to announce a new research project. So I am posting in my role as a Director of the Community Interest Company commsssioned by DH to undertake this research. All contributions are welcome - get in touch using the email link below.

The UK Department of Health Policy Research and NIHR i4i programmes have commissioned the HOIP Community Interest Company to undertake a scoping study into the implications of the web-based personal health record (PHR), the Web 2.0/3.0 technologies, social networks and services that are likely to evolve around it and the resulting research and policy priorities that will enable successful exploitation. The research team will be running a number of workshops at the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) Future Focus facilities and on-line events using the KTN conferencing facilities together with a series of interviews with representatives of key stakeholders. We would welcome expressions of interest in participating in the workshops and online events. The project is also seeking a wide range of contributions and opinions from individuals and groups with experience in this field or similar fields in other industry sectors. More details can be found at or by emailing for a summary of the research brief. A brief introductory presentation can be viewed at The flyer is also attached


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Consent, opt out and the summary care record

Dr Paul Thornton has made public his advisory letter about the rollout of summary care records (SCR) in Dorset and the consent model being employed.

He cites the UCL report on the SCR early adopter program and guidance from the Medical Defence Union to advise the Dorset Local Medical Committee that implied consent (“opt out”) is unlikely to be valid.

It will be interesting to see what decisions GPs make in the next phase of rollout areas following the learning from the early adopter sites.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

HC2009 Announcement and Call for Participation

The first call for participation for the HC2009 conference - Shaping the Future , which will be held 28-30 April 2009 in Harrogate UK has just been released.

The conference will feature:

* Policy and strategy: latest developments
* Implementation of programmes: national progress and local experiences
* Leading/exemplar projects: what was achieved and how
* Leadership, professionalism, training and education
* Understanding health and care: how services are delivered
* Tele health and care / interactive care
* Health Informatics grand challenges
* Using emerging technologies and future relevant technologies
* Health promotion and healthy living
* Supporting Health Informatics research

The conference is an open forum for sharing practical experience, ideas and know-how. You are invited to share your knowledge gained through practice, research, an evaluation or a trial; organise a debate; demonstrate a skill; or introduce a new concept or technology.

The way in which the exhibition is organised is under discussion as we go to press. There will be an exhibition and expressions of interest are invited.

This is an announcement and early call. You are invited to express an interest <> , following which further information will be sent to you. The deadline for submissions to the conference is 31st December 2008 with acceptance notified by end January 2009.

Further details are available from the Conference Secretariat at

Pan-European common emergency phone number

E-Health Europe has just released its latest newsletter (Issues 36) examining renewed efforts to introduce a pan-European common emergency phone number.

It highlights the efforts which have been made to promote the 112 number since its introduction in 1991, yet only 22% of Europeans are aware of it.

If just getting a single emergency number for all of Europe is this difficult, how hard will it be to move to a unified health records system?

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HITSP Webinar Series

This is for any clinician, and any IT person who has anything to do with patient care or information technology, but especially for all who are on a tight or nonexistent training budget.

Starting THIS Thursday – June 12, HITSP will offer a series of 9 webinars on the impact of HITSP in patient care, and how standards are harmonized.

ALL SESSIONS are on a Thursday from 2-330pm EDT, AND all sessions will be recorded for listening after the actual date the webinar is given

See dial in and web ex info at and see “Steve’s Story” for how this relates to patients and patient care.

  • June 5, 2008 - Webinar 1 - Standardizing How We Share Information in Healthcare - An Introduction to HITSP
  • June 19, 2008 - Webinar 2 - HITSP Foundational Components
  • June 26, 2008 - Webinar 3 - Consumer Access to Clinical Information
  • July 10, 2008 - Webinar 4 - Biosurveillance
  • July 24, 2008 - Webinar 5 - Electronic Health Record and Lab Reporting
  • August 7, 2008 - Webinar 6 - Quality
  • August 21, 2008 - Webinar 7 - Security, Privacy and Infrastructure
  • September 4, 2008 - Webinar 8 - EHR and Emergency Response
  • September 18, 2008 - Webinar 9 - Medication Management

Source: Robin Raiford, RN-BC CPHIMS FHIMSS
Director, Government Initiatives, Solutions Management Group, Eclipsys Corporation
CHAIR – HIMSS Patient Safety and Quality Outcomes Steering Committee
MEMBER – CCHIT Child Health Expert Panel
MEMBER – HITSP Education Committee

The Eclipsys mission: To be the most-respected company in the healthcare information technology industry by exceeding client expectations. Eclipsys team members strive to embody our core values of Client Focus, Integrity, Mutual Respect, Commitment to Excellence, Open Communication, and Passion.

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Information Technology Supporting Clinical Excellence

Corexcel invites you to the 2008 Siemens Nursing Thought Leadership Web Cast Series - 'Information Technology Supporting Clinical Excellence' sponsored by Siemens.

Featured Speaker: Kathy Guyette, RN, MSN, Vice President and Associate Chief Nursing Officer, University of North Carolina Healthcare System

The transition to automated clinical documentation requires a new look at things, most often resulting in a change in culture and delivery practice. The implementation of information technology to support care delivery drives a lot of that transition. Unanticipated issues are often the most challenging. This session will focus on The University of North Carolina Hospital's efforts to complete the clinical transformation necessary to meet success. Practical solutions and project approaches will be shared in an effort to assist organizations that are beginning this journey.

  • Recognize and understand the challenges in preparing for automation of clinical documentation practices.
  • Understand the role of the project structure and steering committee in the IT effort.

Articulate 2-3 practical recommendations on how to address issues and challenges presented. View Agenda and Register (

Earn Credit for Attending! Continuing Nursing Education Credits of 1.0 contact hour will be offered (Corexcel is accredited as a Provider of Continuing Nursing Education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation)


Many Schools Switching to Drupal

Here's an interesting short post with a good video from the founder of Drupal.

The video is out of a Med School Library.

Source: Anna Belle Leiserson
Web Coordinator
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

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Researcher job for the NHS Connecting for Health Evaluation Programme

An interesting looking job advert for a Research Associate/Fellow working on systematic reviews for the NHS Connecting for Health Evaluation Programme has recently been advertised.

The job is at the School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health at the University of Edinburgh, in association with Imperial College London, and will involve undertaking a systematic overview of the impact of information technology on the quality and safety of health services. This will assemble a series of systematic reviews about information technology in health services and weave these into a comprehensive and authoritative report with reference to safety and quality of care.

If the outputs are up to the standard of the Report of Evaluation of Summary Care Record Early Adopter Programme published a few weeks ago then this could be very worthwhile work.

If I was in Edinburgh (and the post had a slightly higher salary) I would consider applying for it myself.

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