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Sunday, November 20, 2005

BCS Meeting - Sean Brennan on NPfIT

The meeting organised by the British Computer Society Nursing Specialist Group and Bristol Branch on Thurs Nov 17th 2005 at the University of the West of England, Bristol went very well. The picture shows John Gardner (sec BCS Bristol Branch -left), Richard Hayward (Chair Nursing Specialist Group - centre) & Sean Brennan (speaker) - right (c) Peter Murray

Approximately 80 people attended to hear Sean Brennan present a very humourous commentry on the use of Information Technology in the NHS, in particular how gaining the sign up/input of clinicians will assist new technology to deliver improved/timely care to patients.

Sean opened the presentation with the ironic perspective of how technology developed and used on farms for milking cows and in vetinary practice have helped to support the financial and business implications of the industry and practice.

Networks and hardware

Sean described how the new N3 network is fundamental in supporting all NPfIT projects, and that unless N3 delivers a robust and fast network, the effectiveness and benefits of technology delivered through the programme will not be realised. As an example, Sean suggested the new network must support rapid upload of image files such as PACS to ensure a positive clinical/end-user experience, not previously delivered through NHSnet. He demonstrated this by having a "downloading now - please wait graphic" depress the audience.

The internet and information quality

Sean shared a view of the internet as a resource capable of offering a library of both reliable and unreliable information. A focus on how EBay has boosted worldwide capitalism through customers buying from unknown suppliers led to observations on the importance and need for data integrity to ensure patient records are trustworthy and timely (aacompanied by the song "I bought it on ebay").

What clinicians want form NPfIT

Sean closed the presentation indicating the need for clinicians to be continually involved in NPfIT to support project success. Sean summarised; if systems delivered through the programme are to be used effectively, they (the systems) must have sign-up/input into the project at the highest level, including clinician input into the development/build and ongoing projects. Systems must be friendly to use, which enable a culture and ethos amongst staff to use the technology available, which is reliable, fast and sparing of limited clinical time in order to support patient care.

A bit about Sean

Sean Brennan started working in the NHS in the 1970's, originally as a Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer before becoming an Information Manager. In 1993 he was seconded to the Department of Health and became the project manager for the NHS's national Electronic Patient Record, then taking on policy roles in both English and Scottish Health Departments. In 2000 he joined a computer supplier and then launched Clinical Matrix Ltd, a consultancy company engaged in strategy development, business cases, and clinical change management.

Sean writes a monthly column 'Down at the EPR Arms' for the British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management, and his new book, "The NHS IT Project: the biggest computer programme in the world... ever!", was published in April 2005 It provides a comprehensive and highly accessible examination of the past, present and possible future of NHS Computing. The present £6.2 billion National Programme for IT, provides some interesting challenges and new models for public sector IT.

A web site to accompany the book is also available, as is Sean's Down at the EPR Arms Column

This book is available from Amazon

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