Monday, July 28, 2008

The Health Blogosphere: What It Means for Policy Debates and Journalism

Might be of interest?

The Kaiser Family Foundation is sponsoring a discussion about the growing influence of blogs on health news and policy debates. Only in the past few years has the blogosphere become mainstream. In the health policy arena, we now see policymakers, journalists, researchers and interest groups utilizing this new media tool to deliver information to their audiences.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Interesting Speech Teletherapy blog

Monday, July 21, 2008

2 diiferent studies on how IT affects Nursing

Pro: Study: Better health IT could give nurses more patient time

Con: Nursing point-of-care IT can interfere with workflow

Correct answer? All of the above?

Interesrting use of tech , Health Mapping

Here is an interesting site that some may find helpful. Came across it via another list..

It is:

It uses various resources including WHO, EuroSurveillience, ProMed Mail, etc. to track disease outbreaks wordwide. It is put up by Harverd-MIT Division of Heath Services and Technology. It is most definitely a Gee whiz kind of site - but
interesting none the less.



Web 2.0: A Movement Within The Health Community

Dr Iain Doherty and The University of Auckland has published a fantastic and comprehensive article in Health Care and Informatics Review Online about web 2.0 and health. ...

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Elsevier Article 2.0 Contest Site

Elsevier has posted an Article 2.0 contest site with prizes of $500-2500 for the best scientific article online presentation. It seems like theyare giving programmers the opportunity to take on the role of an innovative publisher using their xml dataset of articles...

The contest runs September 1st - December 31st, 2008 and prizes will be announced January 31st, 2009.

Also for the library Geeks amongst us:
A web2.0/library2.0 issue of Elsevier's Library Connect (October 2007):

Plus three interesting library/programmer bloggers:

With best regards,

P.S. - If you are contemplating going for this, I wouldn't wait until 12-31 to upload. Note that Elsevier took down their website for the Grand Challenge yesterday- the deadline date (for developing an innovative data interpretation or manuscript submission/ reviewing tool with prizes of 15-35K). Perhaps their deadlines are 12:01 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time of the date specified...;-)

Source: Susanna Richards
Editorial Administrative Assistant
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
A-5321 Medical Center North
1161 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232- 2363

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MSF Field Research database

Médecins Sans Frontières aanounced yesterday that it is making its database of research accessible to health workers in developing countries through a new open-access website known as the MSF Field Research database.

At its launch, the field research site included over 400 archived articles on issues including HIV care, malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, refugees and health politics. It also features conference abstracts and a section called ‘Programme Descriptions’ that describes lessons learnt from MSF’s field experience.

The hope is that making these reports freely available, as opposed to hidden away in subscription based journals, will enable the sharing of experience and benefit those in developing countries that might not have been able to afford the subscriptions to the journals.

The journals who have agreed to this system include The Lancet, BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, PLoS Medicine and Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and perhaps demonstrates a change in their business model to a more open access approach.

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Blogging SINI 2008

The 18th Annual Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics (SINI), is taking place this week at the School of Nursing, University of Maryland in Baltimore, USA. The SINI 2008 website is at

Unfortunately I can't attend (too much needing doing in the UK & no more travel budget) but my colleague Peter Murray, a frequent contributor to this blog, is blogging the event on the site.

He is trying out coveritlive live blogging software which is doing the sorts of things he and I were trying to do in basic html about 10 years ago - now perhaps it can become a reality.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Data Sharing Review

A few days ago a report, entitled the Data Sharing Review by Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, and Mark Walport, the director of the Welcome Trust, was delivered to the government which commisioned it.

The review examined issues around the safety and security of personal information and the ways in which public sectors bodies, including the National Health Service (NHS), share data about individuals.

The review's conclusions were that:
  • there is a lack of transparency and accountability in the way organisations deal with personal information
  • there is confusion surrounding the Data Protection Act, particularly the way it interacts with other strands of law
  • greater use could be made of the ability to share personal data safely, particularly in the field of research and statistical analysis
  • the Information Commissioner needs more effective powers, and the resources to allow him to use them properly.
and it came with a series of recommendations aimed at transforming the personal and organisational culture of those who collect, manage and share information. These included:
  • to improve leadership, accountability and training within organisations
  • to ensure all organisations are as transparent and open as possible about how and with whom data are shared, with what authority, for what purposes and with what protections and safeguards
  • to clarify and simplify the legal framework governing data sharing, including provisions to guarantee better and more authoritative guidance for practitioners
  • to develop mechanisms that will enable population-based research and statistical analysis for public benefit, whilst safeguarding the privacy of individuals
  • to help safeguard and protect personal information held in publicly available sources.
A key point for the NHS and other healthcare providers was the support for the assumption of implied consent, explicitly stating that:
"An NHS patient agreeing to a course of treatment should also be taken to have agreed that information given during the course of the treatment might be made available for future medical research projects, so long as robust systems are in place to protect personal information and privacy."
But warns that:
"However, implied consent is not satisfactory without considerable transparency. In the case of the NHS, we strongly encourage it to build on its existing efforts to educate patients by making general and widely advertised statements about how people’s health information might be used in the future."
I would suggest that we are currently a long way from achieving this aim and that the majority of the public have no idea how the information they give to a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional might be shared.

The report also uses examples from health to look at the shring of clinical information for research processes, and includes a specific recomendation on this:
"Recommendation 17: We recommend that the NHS should develop a system to allow approved researchers to work with healthcare providers to identify potential patients, who may then be approached to take part in clinical studies for which consent is needed. These approved researchers would be bound by the same duty of confidentiality as the clinical team providing care, and face similar penalties in the case of any breach of confidentiality. If legislation is necessary to implement such a scheme, then we would urge Government to bring that legislation forward as quickly as possible."
If legislation is to be proposed then I feel it must always err on the side of patient safety and confidentiality, rather than being driven by the desires of the research community, including pharmaceutical companies, and clarify the "approval process" especially as many of them are not covered by the same professional codes (with sanctions for breaking them) as clinicians.

Action is definitely needed to improve the way in which organisations, such as the NHS, handle sensitive personal data and improve public confidence in these processes.

It will be interesting to see how any new legislation, including the implementation of EU directives, improve practice and achieve some of the laudable aims set out in the review.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

NHS Informatics review

At the end of last week the Department of Health published the Health informatics review report led by Matthew Swindells.

Much of the coverage has focussed on the new "freedom" for trusts to purchase "Interim Solutions" until Connecting for Health products are available eg E-Health Insiders "NHS Informatics Review says trusts need 'interim' systems" and Computer Weekly "Health chiefs tell NHS trusts not to wait for NPfIT".

These are important, however some of the other areas of the report are also worthy of consideration. The need for leadership in the Health Informatics domain at local and national levels is discussed with several recommendations for initiatives to develop the informatics workforce and training for the clinical workforce, and sharing learning from implementations. It would have been nice if a little more detail about the education and training initiatives had been included.

The report talks about "Creating confidence" and I would agree that "stakeholders" (patients and staff) and their feelings about the programme are key to success, however I'm not sure that some of the platitudes about improving confidentiality, security and governance of information will achieve this. The NHS Care Records Guarantee is held up as an example of good practice, but some of its inherent weaknesses identified in the Report of Evaluation of Summary Care Record Early Adopter Programme in May, are not addressed.

Additionally, issues around the interface between the NHS Care Records Service and other bodies including social care, voluntary sector organisations, independent sector treatment centres, hospices etc for the exchange of information and dissemination of information by the Secondary Uses Service from the NHS Information Centre are alluded to - with plans for consultations. I would suggest that these issues, which some of us were highlighting years ago should have been addressed by now.

NHS Choices and HealthSpace are held up as examples of good practice (and I understand are now receiving enhanced funding) and they are important, but they do not make up for the delays and deficiencies in the delivery of the Care Records which were a primary purpose of Connecting for Health.

It will be interesting to see if the Health Informatics Review implementation programme which is being set up, and the "enhanced" local ownership predicted will be successful in breaking some of the log jams which are currently blocking progress and I look forward to their more detailed report which is promised for the autumn.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Clinical Engineering and IT Collaboration

In February 2008, leaders of the Association for the Advancement of Medical
Instrumentation (AAMI), the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE), and
the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) joined forces to develop the Clinical Engineering/IT (CE-IT) community.

By pooling our resources and expertise, the CE-IT Community is dedicated

  • Fostering development of a united voice for IT and clinical engineering
    concerns and a forum for its expression
  • Providing a mechanism for developing resources, guidelines, and best
    practices for the CE-IT community
  • Exploring appropriate collaboration of clinical engineering/IT functions
  • Developing a framework for representing the interests of clinical engineering and IT departments to the broader healthcare community


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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Informaticopia nominated for CW Public sector IT award

It was gratifying to note on the Hodges Model blog that Informaticopia has been nominated for the Computer Weekly blog awards in the Public Sector IT category.

Voting is open during July if anyone fancies voting for this blog via the "Vote for me" button & thanks to everyone who contributes here.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Telehealth Technologies Addressing the Global Impending Nursing Shortage

Telehealth Technologies Addressing the Global Impending Nursing Shortage...

In addition to providing better care for patients at a distance, telehealth technology applications can provide a real means for the nursing profession to alleviate the impending nursing shortage. According to a report of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), there will be an unmet need for more than one million nurses in the United States by 2020.


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