Thursday, March 25, 2010

NHS Clinical Informatics Best Practice Marketplace

Today I spent an interesting (and busy) day at the NHS Clinical Informatics Best Practice Marketplace organised by the UK Faculty of Health Informatics and held at the Watershed in Bristol. It included a wide range of speakers, exhibitors and delegates who shared examples of good practice, and some real life barriers, to the implementation of informatics projects in the National Health Service.

The mix of presentations in two rooms simultaneously and exhibitors meant that I couldn't get to everything, however those I was able to attend provided interesting information.

Being on the organising committee meant an early start, when we met with staff from the venue and various helpers who had been roped in for the day to iron out any last minute issues, before the 100+ delegates arrived.

The first presentation I saw was by Dr Andrew Tometzki - consultant paediatric cardiologist at the Bristol Children's Hospital who discussed the use of telemedicine for tertiary referrals in paediatric and foetal cardiology. As well as talking about some technical issues he related the human factors which meant that both staff in Bristol and those at referring hospitals e.g. Truro, as well as the patients, could benefit from reduced travelling and more rapid expert opinion.

During some of the sort breaks I managed to catch up with colleagues from Ideal Training, Cerner and the local Avon Information Management & Technology Consortium who I've have collaborated with previously, but we explored some new ideas for collaborative projects. I also got to speak briefly to various others who were talking about various innovative projects I intend to find out a bit more about.

Howard Goatley – Senior Clinical Pharmacist/ Pharmacy Analyst – Lead Electronic Prescribing Pharmacist, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust who presented their application of decision support software in an acute trust e-prescribing system. The screens he showed looked old (green screen formats) however the design, logic and user interface was demonstrated to fit with and support clinicians prescribing behaviours and was flexible enough to rapidly incorporate new alerts and guidelines.

Glen Howard from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust then took over and talked about how they had developed their Electronic Discharge Document how it delivers discharge letters. Again the focus was as much on what this change had meant to workflows and behaviours from clinicians as it was about the software.

The next presentation was more "high tech". Dr Ken Gilpin an Anaesthetic Registrar from Airedale NHS Trust demonstrated his high fidelity Anaesthetic Patient simulation model, focussing on an ECG simulator which had an amazing range of options and functionality. A simulation can be seen at tetrapoda Although I can spot an abnormal ECG the level was way beyond me, however I was interested in his ideas about where online patient simulation may be heading.

A shared presentation was next, which I only managed to get to part of, showied how the Map of Medicine could be used and adapted to local needs.

Dr Charles Gutteridge has recently been appointed as the Clinical Director for Informatics at the Department of health. He described his previous work as a Haematologist at the Barts and The London NHS Trust and his vision for his new post. Although this was a little lacking in specifics he tried to make the case for the role informatics has to play in wider public health and consumer informatics developments.

The next presentation I got to was by Professor Roy Harper – Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist from Ulster Hospital, Belfast who described the development of an Electronic Patient Management System (ePMS) to assist with work flow and information flow in an acute hospital.

My last session of the day was by Dr Justin Harrington the GP IT Lead for NHS Somerset. He gave an overview of the Summary Care Record (SCR) and the work he has been involved in with various GPs and local groups in the build up to the role out of the SCR in the area. Although he avoided some of the more controversial areas about the consent models he set out practical steps involved in getting community support for the project.

I found it a useful, if busy, day and I was impressed by the real life issues which many of the individuals and small teams had addressed and their willingness to share what they had learnt. The large number of these which had been developed and implemented without the large investment and organisational structures of Connecting for Health was perhaps significant. However I was grateful to the UK Faculty of Health Informatics, which is largely funded by CfH for the opportunity to participate in the days activities.

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