Informaticopia

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

HC2010 Conference

Today I attended the HC2010 conference at the ICC in Birmingham.

This was the first time I'd been to this conference for a few years and previously my attendance had always been to Harrogate. The traffic getting into Birmingham was slow and paying for car parking was a nightmare, but it was certainly easier travelling for me than the trip to Yorkshire.

I managed to get sorted for the presentations by two of the keynote speakers, Professors Denis Protti and Heinz Wolf.

Denis who is a Canadian Health Informatics expert who has been involved in evaluating the UK NHS's National Programme for IT for many years, explored quality, productivity and innovation in health services. He attempted definitions of the terms and argued using the examples of the Mountain View and Veterans Administration to argue that quality, productivity and innovation could coexist in healthcare.

Heinz Wolf, who a hip replacement four weeks ago used personal experiences and statistics of demographic change to support his thesis that we need mutuality and frugality in health care and "comfort care" in the next few years. He argued that the innovations which are needed most are not in science and technology but in the way society is organised. He suggested that although healthcare interventions are likely to remain within the purview of the state the growing need is to social care provided by volunteers in the community, possibly with a banking system for volunteering hours. Looking at technological change he argued that "errorists" were more significant than terrorists and advocated speed limits or fire breaks in the speed of information transmission to reduce error rates.

After a quick coffee and a tour of the exhibition I went into the Research and Development stream, which attracted 50ish delegates. The first presentation was by Professor Ken Eason of Loughborough University who described his research experience related to the sharing of electronic patient information and emphasised the need for organisational and socio-technical research rather then the purely technical work which has been undertaken. He outlined current work in the EPICOg project, funded by NHS SDO, exploring patient pathways across several PCTs and other organisations.

I presented next, on behalf of Peter Murphy and the team from UWE and the Bristol Childrens Hospital exploring lessons learnt in developing a knowledge sharing culture across the NHS, a project funded by the NHS Faculty of Health Informatics and updating recent work including the recent NHS Clinical Informatics Best Practice Marketplace

The final speaker in the session was Mark Hawker from Leeds Institute of Health Sciences who described currently work from various bodies eg the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and the CfH Research Capability Programme to overcome barriers to using NHS clinical data for research purposes. He also described the development of educational resources in the EPR Research training Database.

I then grabbed a quick lunch while attending the AGM of the BCS Nursing Specialist Group, which was a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.

After lunch I participated in an interactive panel session, which included some short presentations from Simon de Lusignon, Bev Ellis and Paul Milne and a discussion led by Paul Woolman from the UK Faculty of Health Informatics and funding bodies eg Wellcome Trust, ESRC, EPSRC, NIHR etc looking at issues for Health Informatics Research. They would like everyone in the field to complete the UK E-Health Records Research Capacity Landscape Mapping Exercise.

Unfortunately because of other commitments I will not be able to attend the next two days of the conference.

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