Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Latest HI Now

The latest edition of HI NOW the newsletter of the BCS health informatics community has just been piblished.

Contents include:

* Industry news
* HC reshaped for the future
* Bellamy to cover the foundations upwards
* Secure sharing of documents and images
* Web 2.0 woven into health information's future
* Is health informatics growing up?
* ProRec-UK set up to represent UK on standards
* Submissions for Medinfo 2010
* Lessons to share on electronic records
* Electronic info to speed up emergency treatment
* Chemotherapy planning tool scoops award
* Forthcoming events

In this issue Martin Bellamy talks about what he will say at HC2009. This article is also featured in Computing.

You can read it at:

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Impact of Emerging & Disruptive Technologies

Readers of this blog might be interested in a study day in London on 20 May 2009 which will look at the Impact of Emerging & Disruptive Technologies, for more information see

Monday, March 30, 2009

Farewell NLH welcome NHS Evidence

The final newsletter of the National Library for Health has just been published.

This edition celebrates the past 10 years of the National Library for Health and looks towards to the future of NHS Evidence.

It also includes pieces on:
* The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement bid farewell to the National Library for Health
* What Will Happen To The National Library for Health
* NHS Evidence Update
* Specialist Libraries: April Annual Evidence Updates
* Map of Medicine Update: Over 360 Map Pathways now available on NHS Choices website
* Clinical Knowledge Summaries
* TDAG Conference 2009
* New Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Licence for the NHS in England: Q&A
* KM Specialist Library Update

Having been involved in some of the early discussions about the NLH (or NeLH as it was called then) it is interesting to look back on achievements and question whether the original vision has been achieved - on reflection probably not - and the number of people who have been involved in the central service and all of the specialist libraries.

It will be interesting to how the lessons learnt will be applied in the new NHS Evidence service which aims to be a web-based service that will help people find, access and use high-quality clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice. Built around a powerful search engine, the service will consolidate information from a wide range of sources in one central portal.

NHS Evidence will be formally launched on 1st April - why do these things always launch on April fools day?

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

UK Fac HI Think Tank

Today I took another trip to London, this time for a UK Faulty of Health Informatics Think Tank at the Cass Business School, City University.

Bev Ellis took on the unenviable task of trying to chair the day and she welcomed participants, including Faculty board members and Peter Knight from Connecting for Health and set out the aims for the day around sharing research. She highlighted the importance of the networks which the faculty provides and facilitates and highlighted why the work is particularly relevant now following the statement in the Darzi review of the NHS related to research and change management aspects.

“We will continue to transform health research in the NHS by implementing, consolidating and building on the Government’s strategy, Best Research for Best Health, for the benefit of patients and the public. Our researchers have made a great contribution and will continue to do so. However, too often innovation has been defined narrowly, focusing solely on research, when in fact innovation is a broader concept, encompassing clinical practice and service design. Service innovation means people at the frontline finding better ways of caring for patients – improving outcomes, experiences and safety. In this country, we have a proud record of invention, but we lag behind in systematic uptake even of our own inventions”

Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham KBE Hon FREng, FMedSci – High Quality Care for All – NHS Next Stage Review Final Report – July 2008

Bev argued that innovation is defined too narrowly and needed to widen this to take on board the importance of “what works”. The event’s main objectives are to:

1. To identify how existing Health Informatics research undertaken by students and NHS staff could be accessed, used and applied more effectively to further improve services.

2. To ensure that future research into the impact of technology and other good informatics practice in patient care can be stimulated in order to provide an improved evidence base to assess the value of Informatics in healthcare.

3. To ensure that concerns and obstacles over the effective and safe use of data for wider Health research are addressed and overcome.

The day centered around draft reports and presentations from 5 teams who had received faculty grants and will be making their full and final reports available next week.

The first presentation was by Jean Roberts from UCLAN (Grant 5) whose position paper addressed “Working even more effectively with key stakeholders to better support existing HI R&D programmes and to facilitate improved access to UK and European funding sources of funding for HI related R&D”. Her work described the situation with research funders who have eclectic rules with no clear patterns. She shared some tricks and tools for research bid creation to get research funding from a range of sources – when the criteria can undergo sea changes, and are not always declared or consistent. Her analogy was scrabbling in the volatile mud to find them he nuggets and highlighted some of the tensions and benefits inherent in the research funding process. She suggested the faculty may have a role in the dissemination of calls etc and reflection afterwards whether successful or otherwise. Examples were given from the ESRC and others emphasising the need to show strategic & national significance and further exploration of the balance between pure scientific merit & health needs. The Q&A/discussion touched on applied v pure research, the different funders & procedures, Pre & post 1992 universities differences, HI bids submitted under various other banners and sustainability.

The next speaker was Susan Clamp on behalf of a team, including Richard Jones and Mark Hawker from the Yorkshire Centre for Health Informatics, on their work “Overcoming barriers to the safe use of patient data for Research and Development between the NHS and Higher Education”. She set the context emphasising the information intensive nature of medicine and issues of change management and Evidence Based Medicine. She set out government commitments to make the NHS research based including the role of the Secondary Uses Service (information Centre) and the use of electronic records. The current picture with Cancer Registries databases and the similar incompatible and unconnected demographic sources, and separate data collection for trials was described as being very expensive. She also described current work by the National Institutes of Health Research (NIHR), various funders etc and the need for a rationale and streamlined process. The Electronic Health Record was seen as providing a solution to these problems.

Clinical trials & identifying participants – numerous databases but not connected. There was some mention of anonymisation & pseudanonmisation, confidentiality & security but these were not the focus of the work – but triggered the majority of the discussion. Comparisons were drawn with US and Danish cohort studies. She also argued that modules and other education for clinicians about demographic databases was needed. The projects recommendations were around educating and challenging executive leaders, middle-ranking research leaders and influencing grant forms and the like. This process was seen as needing to promote engagement suppliers. A case was made for system designers and HI staff in the NHS workforce to include research requirements aat early design stages. The debate which followed focussed on consent, confidentiality and privacy issues which are likely to figure in the current ministerial review on the use of identifiable data. Research which is informing this had found differences among different socio-economic groups in their attitudes to these issues.

I went next with a presentation of the work from a combined team between Bristol Children’s Hospital Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and the University of the West of England. We were funded to look at “Developing a culture of knowledge sharing across the NHS that stimulates the application of Health Informatics research and best practice.

We were followed by Frits Janssen from ITW who gave a wide ranging presentation about eh importance of knowledge sharing, the importance of NHS Informatics in delivering patient care, the support NHS Health Informatics Services need in order to facilitate UK as a world class centre for R&D, a review of NPfIT and a discussion of who the stakeholders might be while shopping for £120,000 to fund a benefits realistaion program, based on work his organisation had done with the local government sector.

The final of the 5 presentations was given by Howard Leicester (RCS Edinburgh) on the work he had undertaken with Abdul Roudsari on “improving access to, dissemination and the application of research undertaken by Health Informatics students at Masters Level in Higher Education across the United Kingdom”. He started with the best joke of the day about how if you say Health Informatician slowly it comes out as Health Info Morticians – and suggested we may be killing the stuff we are trying to gather & share.
The focus of their work was on the case for a repository for knowledge sharing based on MSc research but covered wider aspects about the size of the pool for students. They had conducted a survey of students and few were getting their work published and suggested the repository as a way of sharing it as long as the work meets some quality standards. The Q&A session discussed whether this would be setting up another specific silo, quality review processes, and the role of specialist groups etc. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to talk about the system in Wales where Informing Healthcare second students onto the part time MSc in Health Informatics at Swansea University.

The planned workshops were cancelled & turned into shorter mass debates with each team presenting one question for discussion amongst all the delegates present. This did produce a fairly wide ranging discussion however it felt a little messy with several individuals just stating again points which had been made in previous presentations and discussions with added Chasms & Tsunamis!

Concluding summaries were given by Bruce Elliot looking at the way forward for the faculty and Peter Knight who gave a connecting for health analysis of the need for health informatics skills over the next few years in the light of international competition and changes in healthcare delivery and the pharmaceutical industry changes. He also argued for the need for tangible case studies which will enthuse various stakeholders. He concluded that the work needed to continue to enhance capability and capacity in the NHS and academia.

The full reports from each of the projects will be published on espace next week and further information about the work arising from the day will be in a faculty bulletin early in April.

In general it was a useful networking day which aired a range of topical issues but if the intention was to reach a wider audience than the “usual suspects” it was probably quite limited.


Blogging Med-e-Tel 2009

As Bob Pyke has already mentioned (see post of 22 March), the Med-e-Tel 2009 conference takes place next week, 1-3 April, in Luxembourg ( Thanks to Bob's recruitment, Peter Murray will be there, and presenting in the tele-nursing session. Unoftunately, Bob will not be able to be there this year - so I'll have to wait to get the promised beer out of him ;-)

Peter will be blogging and Twittering from Med-e-Tel; blog posts will be at and tweets will be on Peter's Twitter stream ( and can be easily located by searching Twitter for the hashtag #medetel09 If you are on Twitter and want to interact, ask questions etc., then please use the hashtag in your tweets, else you might get overlooked.

As well as the 'normal' blog posts, if connectivity, energies, etc permit, then I may again try using Coveritlive to 'live blog' some of the sessions - which gives another opportunity to interact. See and other SINI2008 posts for examples of how Scott and Peter used this in Baltimore, last year.

For a flavour of Med-e-Tel, you can also look back at our colleague Scott Erdley's reports from last year's Med-e-Tel; see the med-e-tel category at

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MedInfo2010 Call for Submissions

Please find below reminder information about the Call for Submissions for MedInfo2010, the 13th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa on 13-16 September, 2010 (

The conference theme is "Partnerships for effective e-Health solutions", with a particular focus on how innovative collaborations can promote sustainable solutions to health challenges.

Submissions are sought for papers, posters, panels, workshops and tutorials which may embrace this broad theme or may be focused on other areas of biomedical informatics. The contributions should relate to one of the following topic areas:
• Health information systems design and architecture
• E-health infrastructures
• Health informatics evaluation
• Education and building health informatics capacity
• Consumer health informatics
• Translational bioinformatics
• Emerging technologies
• Decision support systems
• Knowledge management
• Ontologies and terminologies
• Data and text mining
• Organizational, economic, workflow and policy issues
• Standards
• Electronic health records
• National and international health IT efforts and implementations


Paper submission for those who wish to participate in the Scientific Mentor Scheme 1st July 2009 Feedback from mentors for the Scientific Mentor Scheme participants 1st August 2009

Paper submission for ALL MEDINFO papers 30th September 2009

Authors notified of acceptance 15th February 2010

Publication of scientific program 28th February 2010

New initiative:

The Scientific Mentor Scheme is a new initiative for this Congress. The aim of this scheme is to provide additional support to early career researchers and non-native English speakers. Participants will submit their papers early and will be provided with feedback about their papers from a member of the panel of international health informatics experts. Those wishing to participate in this scheme must submit their paper by 1st July 2009. Authors will then need to submit their final paper by the Congress paper deadline of 30th September 2009. The papers will then proceed through the normal Congress review process.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Database State

Today the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust published a major report on the Database State. In it Ross Anderson and colleagues chart the rise of public sector databases which impact on everyones lives.

The report arose from the loss by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs of two discs containing personal information about nearly 50% of the population and a series of high profile fiascos and data loses and challenges over effectiveness, privacy, legality and cost.

The report assesses 46 databases across the major government departments, and finds that:

* A quarter of the public-sector databases reviewed are almost certainly illegal under human rights or data protection law; they should be scrapped or substantially redesigned. More than half have significant problems with privacy or effectiveness and could fall foul of a legal challenge.

* Fewer than 15% of the public databases assessed in this report are effective, proportionate and necessary, with a proper legal basis for any privacy intrusions. Even so, some of them still have operational problems.

* Britain is out of line with other developed countries, where records on sensitive matters like healthcare and social services are held locally. In Britain, data is increasingly centralised, and shared between health and social services, the police, schools, local government and the taxman.

*The benefits claimed for data sharing are often illusory. Sharing can harm the vulnerable, not least by leading to discrimination and stigmatisation.

* The UK public sector spends over £16 billion a year on IT. Over £100 billion in spending is planned for the next five years, and even the Government cannot provide an accurate figure for cost of its ‘Transformational Government’ programme. Yet only about 30% of government IT projects succeed.

The report uses a traffic light system to examine the databases - those achieving a red rating are "almost certainly illegal under human rights or data protection law and should be scrapped or substantially redesigned". These include three systems specifically relevant to health and social care:

* ContactPoint, which is a national index of all children in England. It will hold biographical and contact information for each child and record their relationship with public services, including a note on whether any ‘sensitive service’ is working with the child;

* the NHS Detailed Care Record, which will hold GP and hospital records in remote servers controlled by the government, but to which many care providers can add their own comments, wikipedia-style, without proper control or accountability; and the Secondary Uses Service, which holds summaries of hospital and other treatment in a central system to support NHS administration and research;

* the electronic Common Assessment Framework, which holds an assessment of a child’s welfare needs. It can include sensitive and subjective information, and is too widely disseminated;

Other databases in the field including the NHS Summary Care Record, which will ‘initially’ hold information such as allergies and current prescriptions, are rated amber which means "a database has significant problems, and may be unlawful. Depending on the circumstances, it may need to be shrunk, or split, or individuals may have to be given a right to opt out".

Out of the 48 databases studied only 6 are given a "green light".

I' still working my way through the whole 63 page report and I'm currently analysing the significance and likely impact of the chapter related to the Department of Health.

The report has already been highlighted by the Guardian in its report entitled "Right to privacy broken by a quarter of UK's public databases, says report". It will be interesting to see what other reaction it receives and, most importantly, whether the direction of travel for government IT is changed at all.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Med-e-Tel 2009

When it comes to eHealth, Telemedicine and Health ICT, Med-e-Tel is the meeting place with a proven potential for Education, Networking and Business among a global audience with diverse professional backgrounds. .
This years opening session will include Global Telemedicine and eHealth Update (with European Commission, International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth, International Telecommunication Union, International Council of Nurses, European Health Telematics Association, Russian Telemedicine Association, Internet Society Belgium to name a few. And a excellent session NI/Telenursing with the likes of Dr Peter Murray,Lois Scott, Diane Castelli and Dr Claudia Bartz.
I will not there this year, but Med-e-Tel is the best kept secret in e-health/tehealth and ICT in the world and I would recommend it highly from a personal and professional expereince. Go to


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CfH Learning to Manage conference

Today I travelled to London for a connecting for health conference relaunching the “Learning to Manage Health Information” strategy.

Learning to Manage (LtM) was first launched in 1999 with a refresh in 2002 to set guidelines for the inclusion of health informatics into the curriculum for education for clinicians. It’s effectiveness in achieving it aims was limited and therefore it has been revised and updated. The intention of the new document is to provide guidance for educators, regulators and commissioner of education on appropriate learning outcomes for different professions at different stages of their education.

The day, which was held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, was opened by Martin Severs, the chair of the NHS Information Standards Board. He dealt with the housekeeping issues and invited participants to comment during the final plenary – however there were no question and answers sessions for any of the speakers during the day – and the final plenary was managed to prevent “awkward” questions from the like of me – this style seems to be Connecting for Health’s way of managing potential problems at events like this. Martin briefly described some of the relevant history including the launch in 1999 of the first version of the LtM document, which, as he said was endorsed by many but acted on by few. He suggested that the emphasis, and strap line, for the National Programme for IT in the NHS had changed over that time and now was much more focused on patient safety and patient participation.

He introduced a video message from Bruce Keogh, who welcomed delegates to the conference which he considered important – although he was unable to attend in person. He also stressed the importance of good quality information underpinning patient care and suggested that in the past there had been too much data but too little useful information and hoped that today’s event would be helping to change that. He suggested that there should be a clinical information officer in each NHS organisation – although there was no detail about what there role would entail. There was also no detail about whether they would have any ability to change practice, and what sorts of knowledge and skills these people would have and where they would be recruited from. He also mentioned the development of quality observatories in each NHS region which would be able to provide relevant information, in a usable format, for clinical teams to enhance their analytical capacity.

The first keynote was given by Dr Maureen Baker, Clinical Director for Patient Safety, NHS Connecting for Health (CfH). She outlined the increasing importance of quality in NHS IT systems and made the links to the importance of these areas in education for clinical staff as well as managers. The history of the patient safety movement and some of the key documents were presented. She argued that we need to accept that human error and fallibility is inevitable, but that systems should be designed to minimise the effects of these by drawing parallels with other complex and high risk industries. She presented an example from her own practice as a GP of how the potential for errors could be built into IT systems. She leads the board which signs off software being developed for use in the NHS as being safe and outlined how this “baton of safety” is handed over once the new systems are rolled out into practice. I wanted to raise issues about the involvement of front line staff at the design stage but didn’t get the opportunity.

Di Millen, Head of Informatics Development, NHS Connecting for Health then introduced participants to the document being launched today. Learning to Manage Health Information: a theme for clinical education – Making a difference. She outlined the work which had got us to this point but suggested rather than being an end point this was a beginning of gathering examples of good practice and developing a community of practice. The information on how this new version of the document was going to influence the “real world” and strategies to implement it was sketchy – but there was no opportunity at this point to explore this further. She mentioned two key issues which come up every time she meets anyone: connection between the NHS network N3 and the JANET network used in education and the issuing of smartcards to students. She promised more on the second issue later in the day. The full text of the document should be available tomorrow at Although I’ve seen drafts of the document I shall take a little longer to review it and then post some comments on this blog. Di also briefly “dangled some carrots” for the future work including some LtM related research grants – to be administered through the UK Faculty of Health Informatics.

After the coffee break participants were invited to attend one of a variety of workshops. Obviously as I was presenting in one I can’t comment on what went on in others, which included:

• Designing a Health Informatics Teaching Session - Jeannette Murphy, Senior Research Fellow, CHIME, University College London
• Introducing Clinical Information Systems (CIS) into the undergraduate clinical curriculum Sue Clamp, Director of the Yorkshire Centre for Health Informatics
• Finding a solution to Health Informatics Educator/Teacher/Facilitator Paucity - Paula Procter, Reader in Informatics and Telematics in Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield
• Embedding record standards in the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum: why, what and how? Prof John Williams, Director of Health Informatics at the RCP
• A theoretical and practical approach to teaching record access – Dr Brian Fisher, GP & Dr Amir Hannon, GP
• Map of Medicine – Ketan Patel, Implementation Manager, Map of Medicine (workshop only delivered in the afternoon)

I would have liked the opportunity to attend some of these – Note to self, must learn to say no occasionally when asked to do these things!

My own workshop Using simulated electronic health records in clinical education included my presentation on the university perspective but also Nick Jupp, eLearning Programme Manager - South West Strategic Health Authority and Kathy Sienko from Cerner.

We tried to provide different perspectives on the issues surrounding the pilot project we have been implementing using the Cerner Academic Education Solution (AES). The workshop generated quite a lot of interest and discussion with several people thinking about how they would approach similar issues in their own institutions.

During lunch I had lots of interesting discussions with friends and colleagues old and new – and while partaking of a quick cigarette in the sunny and pleasant grounds was filmed for the Vox Pop- although the questions were angled to get positive rather than negative comments.

After lunch the afternoon sessions were c haired by Dr Elizabeth White, Head of Research and Development, College of Occupational Therapists who introduced the two plenary speakers and a video greeting from Gifford Batstone who outlined the importance of informatics for quality practice and the changing role of clinicians from being the providers of information to that of helping patients and clients to understand information they were obtaining independently – primarily form internet sources. As there was no opportunity for a question and answer session on this I wasn’t able to raise current debates about the ways in which disparate information sources may e contributing to reduced trust in the professions and organs of the state and increasing trust in the experiences of lay people who have been through similar experiences.

Dr Mark Davies, Effective Medical Director, The NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care (previously the Secondary Uses Service) who was talking about Information and Service Delivery. He briefly talked about the role of the Information Centre and set out the principles that management and research data should not need to be collected separately but should be generated from data collected in routine clinical practice. He emphasised the importance of data quality if the information is to be used to support patient care (while almost admitting how poor the information quality has been for years).

He used the three legged stool analogy first used by Denis Protti in which the three legs are Technology, Processes and People and saw today’s event as focussing on people. He should several ways in which data can be displayed to support decision making at various levels including the NHS dashboard of key indicators – see for more information. As with several others speakers NHS Choices was highlighted as the portal for public access – but little comment was made about the coming Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS). I would have liked to raise issues around the use of NHS data by commercial companies (such as Dr Foster) in what he described as the third stage and procedures for anonymisation and pseudanonymisation - but there was no opportunity to do this.

The next speaker was Suzanne Truttero, Midwifery Advisor CNO directorate; Department of Health addressed the topic Measuring the Quality of Maternity Care. She described the myriad of different documents, guidelines, measures etc which have been developed over the years and the work to bring these together. The current use of balanced score cards, dashboards & patient satisfaction surveys were also described.

An extra speaker, Philip Gill, from the registration authority, was slotted into the programme at this point to address frequent queries about students being able to gain smart cards for NHS systems while in training. He set out the two stage process required. The first being identity checks which can be delegated to the universities and the second stage related to specific access rights which, he argued, needed to be done by the trusts. He recognised that some trusts were “being awkward” about this, but described a pilot with Nottingham university which has overcome some of the issues and promised further information and guidance for trusts (which universities would be able to quote) on the NHS Employers web site by the end of this week.

After a refreshment break the workshops from the morning were repeated to give each of the attendees the opportunity to attend a different session.

As I was tidying up after our workshop and talking to lots of interested people I was a little late attending the final plenary. This brought the day to a close with an attempt to enable participants and speakers to engage in dialogue about the ways in which the work from the day could be taken forward. Lots of speakers welcomed the intentions but said that there was a need for commissioners of education, regulatory bodies and others to take it onboard – and for CfH and other NHS bodies to work with the few “lone voices” in universities to raise health informatics up the agenda at all levels of clinical education.

In general the day was quite interesting and it was good to meet others working in related fields, however it has not convinced me that the new version of Learning to Manage… is going to bring about the revolution which is needed – and that despite what was said today we might be at a similar event in 10 years time discussion the same sorts of issues – I’ve already booked my place with Di Millen!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Call for Papers

London International Conference on Education (LICE-2009), 9-12 of November, 2009 in London, UK(

The London International Conference on Education (LICE) is an international refereed conference dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practices in education. The LICE promotes collaborative excellence between academicians and professionals from Education.

The aim of LICE is to provide an opportunity for academicians and professionals from various educational fields with cross-disciplinary interests to bridge the knowledge gap, promote research esteem and the evolution of pedagogy. The LICE-2009 invites research papers that encompass conceptual analysis, design implementation and performance evaluation. All the accepted papers will appear in the proceedings and modified version of the selected papers will appear in special issues peer reviewed journals.

The topics in LICE-2009 include but are not confined to the following areas:
  • Academic Advising and Counselling
  • Art Education
  • Adult Education
  • Business Education
  • Counsellor Education
  • Curriculum, Research and Development
  • Distance Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Administration
  • Educational Foundations
  • Educational Psychology
  • Educational Technology
  • Education Policy and Leadership
  • Elementary Education
  • E-Learning
  • Health Education
  • Higher Education
  • History
  • Human Resource Development
  • Indigenous Education
  • ICT Education
  • Kinesiology & Leisure Science
  • Language Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Music Education
  • Pedagogy
  • Reading Education
  • Rural Education
  • Science Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Special Education
  • Student Affairs
  • Teacher Education
  • Cross-disciplinary areas of Education
  • E-Society
  • Other Areas of Education


  • Extended Abstract Submission Date:June 30, 2009
  • Paper Submission Date: July 15, 2009
  • Proposal for Workshops: May 15, 2009
  • Notification of Workshop Acceptance: May 31, 2009
  • Proposal for Academic Presentation: April 30, 2009
  • Notification of Extended Abstract Acceptance/Rejection: July 31, 2009
  • Notification of Academic Presentation Acceptance: May 15, 2009
  • Notification of Paper Acceptance/Rejection: August 15, 2009
  • Camera Ready Paper Due: September 01, 2009
  • Author Registration: September 15, 2009
  • Early Bird Attendee registration: October 01, 2009
  • Conference Dates: November 09-12, 2009


Thursday, March 12, 2009

HEA HS&P Festival of Learning - final day

I went back to Walsall today for the final day of the Higher Education Academy, Health Sciences and Practice Festival of Learning.

The opening keynote presentation was given by Professor Jill Thistlethwaite, Director of the Institute of Clinical Education at the University of Warwick.She gave some reflections on Interprofessional Education including her experiences in Australia and Canada. Her presentation moved from personal and cultural differences to tensions about whether IP practice was needed before IP education could be introduced or whether education should lead the way. She gave many examples of the blurring of boundaries between health and social care professionals and some of the barriers to adoption including aspects of power and hierarchy.

The workshop I selected for my next session was about collaborative learning using classroom and online technology - choosing and using technology to enhance learning, led by Heather Thornton, Anna Anders and Scott Rickard from the University of Herfordshire. They started from ideas about what collaborative learning might mean and discussed the organisation of groups and setting up tasks before moving on to look at the appropriate technology for different modules with different learning outcomes. The design of classroom learning spaces which encourage collaboration was touched on before the main talks on how podcasts and wikis had been used and evaluation of these approaches which have been given by students and staff.

I had to leave before the final panel discussion, before driving back to Bristol for some (face to face) teaching.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

RCN conference - Moving technology into practice

Today I've had a "Day in the Bay" - the subtitle of the Royal College of Nursing's Conference "Moving technology into practice" - and the bay in question was Cardiff Bay as the conference was at the Wales Millenium Centre - an impressive venue I'd not visited before.

The day was opened by Tina Donnell the Director of RCN Wales. She dealt with housekeeping issues and then described her impressions and experiences with ehealth - particularly related to the use of telecare functions will serving with the territorial army. She focused the audience on developments in Wales particularly the work of Informing Healthcare and the growing emphasis on nurse involvement in these developments at all levels. Identified timelines for development and the need for technology to support the "management imperatives" were stressed, and on a wider, UK, basis ehealth has been adopted as one of 7 professional priorities identified in the RCNs 2008-09 strategy.

Dame June Clark then took the podium to introduce the first keynote speaker Norma M. Lang from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, who took for the title of her presentation "From patient data to nursing knowledge for nursing practice. She described she and her colleagues/team have been doing in the US in identifying from a range of strategic documents key practice standards or phenomena of concern for nurses and nursing and identifying the process for developing and embedding actionable nursing knowledge within clinical information systems. She set these out as her vision for the future.

After a good networking opportunity over a cop of coffee the next speaker was David Baker from the Association of Nursing Students who presented the results of a survey of student preparedness for ehealth and the Oct 2008 workshop held to discuss these and develop an action plan for the RCN as reported on this blog as: RCN workshop - getting eHealth into pre-reg education. The survey results and workshop report are now available online. The lack of students passwords for clinical systems which encourage the sharing of passwords caused most discussion in the subsequent question and answer session.

A second David followed - this time David Lloyd from Bangor university, who described the welsh context for ehealth developments and highlighted a range of issues about the sharing of patient records, particularly patients who may receive treatment in both England and Wales where different electronic records systems are being deployed which may not be able to share data. He then went on to set out the principles of the Model of Nursing Information first set out by Rodney Hughes and explored the concepts of maximum and minimum nursing data sets. Some of the important issues for consideration which are raised by these approaches were then explored. Pauline Tang from Cardiff University then picked up the threads and explored some of their significance for education and practice.

The final keynote was by Peter Carter the Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN. He emphasised the importance of developing quality measures relating to nursing, collecting the information to analyse them and then using them to improve patient care. There was a close similarity between the indicators he identified and those discussed previously which are being used in the US and were described in Norma Lang's presentation. He argued, as had many in the audience that senior level nursing input was vital and was proud of being instrumental in getting a nursing director into Connecting for Health and discussed the implications of the impending arrival of the Care Quality Commission replacing the previously separate regulators for health and social care. He used a humorous story to illustrate the importance of practitioners rather than "techies" being the ones to specify, refine and implement clinical systems.

The formal conference was closed by June Clark who tried to summarise the key messages from the day. Ehealth is not for the future nut is for now and that we (nurses, nursing & the RCN) are not ready. She touched on the coming "nursing metrics" and the importance of nurses taking responsibility for using knowledge systems to underpin their decision making.

After the close of the formal conference delegates were invited to a reception in the Senedd, the home of the National Assembly for Wales, hosted by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas the presiding officer of the Assembly, who welcomed delegates in Welsh (translation provided) and highlighted recent developments in the Welsh NHS and the inclusion of nurses on important strategic bodies. Brief comments were also made by Peter Carter and June Clark who also presented Norma Lang with a Welsh Love Spoon.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HEA HS&P Festival of Learning

Today I traveled to the University of Wolverhampton's Wallsall Campus for the first day of the Higher Education Academy Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre, Festival of Learning.

I went primarily to put up a poster reporting the work of a project I was involved i led by Dr Pam Moule at UWE & funded by the HEA subject centre in which we carried out a survey and case studies to identify the elearning applications being used in HEIs and share examples of innovative individual and organisational best practice. I was told today that the reviewers had finished looking at it & once we have done a few minor edits it will be published. This should be in a few weeks and I will add details on this blog.

The conference was opened by Dr Margaret Sills, the Academic Director of the centre who welcomed participants and dealt with "housekeeping issues" including, for the first time, the use of text messaging to contact the organisers within the Festival of Learning" and to submit questions for the expert panel on Thursday. Margaret then introduced the first Keynote speaker.

Healthy Universities: Practising what we preach? was the topic of Mark Dooris, the director of the Healthy Settings Development Unit at the University of Central Lancashire. He set out the background to his recent work and examined why universities should be a part of the wider healthy settings work and what make their specific issues different from the Healthy Schools project and similar work. He described the different approaches in HEIs from the survey work his recently undertaken for the HEA & Department of Health. They had concluded that there is a need fr some national work, albeit with a "light touch" flexible and responsive framework to take this forward.

I next attended a workshop led by Alan Hilliard and Jenny Lorimer from the University of Hertfordshire describing their experiences with podcasting and the use of Electronic Voting Systems (EVS). They amde their workshop tuely interactive by getting participants to group together to come up with benefits and issues with large groups lectures and then very rapidly getting a "volunteer" from each group to record a two minute podcast on mobile MP3 recorders. These will be made available on the subject centre website at:

They then described how large group lectures had been replaced in a radiography module by podcasts which the students accessed in advance of small group work, which had been well evaluated by staff and students. The Q&A session drew out a variety of approaches, success stories and difficulties from other institutions. This was followed by some participative demonstrations of the Turning Point EVS including the use of conditional branching where the information presented depended on the group response to previous questions, which I'd not seen before.

I will be back for the final day of the Festival of Learning on Thursday.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Developing a culture of knowledge sharing across the NHS that stimulates the application of Heath Informatics research and best practice

Clinicians, from the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, and Academics in the field of Health Informatics, from the University of the West of England, have joined together to evaluate knowledge sharing across the NHS. We aim to look at knowledge sharing both within the NHS and between the NHS and external organisations. We have developed an on-line survey which is aimed not only at NHS clinicians and health informatics professionals but also at representatives from external organisations which interact with the NHS.

Please take part in this on-line survey which can be found at:

Using this survey we hope to identify and explore examples of good practice, in terms of knowledge sharing, across the NHS. We also hope to document and understand the obstacles to knowledge sharing which currently exist.

Following analysis of the data, we aim to produce recommendations regarding how Heath Informatics research and best practice can help foster and support a culture of knowledge sharing across the NHS.

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RCN advertising for an eHealth Nurse Adviser

The Royal College of Nursing is currently advertising for an eHealth Nurse Adviser.

The remit is to influence UK policy and practice now and in the future in the area of eHealth, and support and engage nursing staff in this agenda. Advising and representing them on eHealth issues, you will form collaborative eHealth partnerships, embed eHealth across the RCN, engage and support members with regards to eHealth including working with our Information in Nursing Group, and manage our eHealth web content. A background in and enthusiasm for eHealth to ensure that it plays a significant part in nursing care in the future is a must.

They are offering £45,336 p.a. pro rata (outside London), £48,336 p.a. pro rata (London based) inc. of Inner London Weighting, with the location negotiable/to be agreed. Applications need to be in by the 20th March.

The job or secondment is for up to 21 hours per week days to be agreed

Further information is available from or by contacting Jackie Cheeseborough [Jackie.Cheeseborough@RCN.ORG.UK] or tel +44 (0)20 7647 3616.

If I wasn't busy doing other things I might have considered applying.

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