Friday, October 02, 2009

HI Now - NI2009 special

The latest edition of HI Now from the British Computer Society has now been published and is available in PDF from

It has a special focus on the Nursing Informatics conference with reports on:

Sensory enhanced health information systems

The related concepts of consumer oriented and driven
healthcare services, and the increasing relevance of
home and mobile monitoring devices to improve personal
independent living were discussed throughout the
NI2009 programme.

Personal health information management systems

The topic of the NI2009 post conference was Personal
Health Information Management Systems (PHIMS):
Tools and Strategies for Citizen’s Engagement
(in their health care).

Human computer interaction

The human computer interaction stream at the recent
Nursing Informatics conference (NI2009) included a look
at the online managed knowledge network that shares
knowledge in eHealth in Scotland.

Outcome measures and ethical competence

The human computer interaction and ethics and nursing
informatics streams at NI2009 provided delegates with a
new set of challenges.

Pre registration education
Carol Bond provides an overview of the pre registration
education stream that ran through NI2009.

Educational informatics

A discussion based around five presentations covering
educational aspects of health and nursing infomatics.

Evidence based practice

A report on the strand of the NI2009 conference that
focused on different ways of providing evidence to
clinicians to help them make decisions at the point of nursing care

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Next week (28 June – 1 July) will see the NI2009 conference (10th International Congress in Nursing Informatics) taking place in Helsinki Finland.

The programme looks interesting covering:

Nursing Informatics – Connecting Health and Humans

• Individualized Care with Interoperable Information Systems
• Improvement in Health Care Governance
• Innovative Education Transforming Future Health Care
• Increasing Nursing Knowledge through Data Warehouses

The Congress Program will consist of the following 10 themes:

1. Clinical Workflow and Human Interface

2. Patient Safety

3. Consumer Health Informatics and Personal Health Records

4. Education for Consumers and Professionals

5. Evidence Based Practice and Decision Support

6. Health Information Technology

7. National eHealth Initiatives across the Globe

8. Patient Preferences and Quality of Care

9. Strategies and Methods for HIT Training

10. Terminology, Standards and NMDSs

Unfortunately I will not be attending, however my colleagues will be reporting via a variety of media and I will try to keep up with developments via blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. Full details are available on the Health Informatics Blogs Portal.

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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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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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Friday, November 07, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 2

Another sunny day here in Cyprus started with a "mini-track" related to the use of social networking tools in health and social care - chaired by my colleague Pam Moule.

The first presentation was by Sotiris Fanou a PhD student from the University of the West of England. He described his current work on enabling those with Learning Disabilities, who are currently excluded from many aspects of society, to participate in Wed 2.0 social networking via the development of new systems. He described some of the background and the issues identified for those with cognitive impairments which are different to those with visual or auditory problems which are served by W3C accessibility guidelines. He clarified the aims and research questions and dealt with questions about the iterative development process which enable the system to meet the needs of these users and the content creation which is being handed over to those with learning disabilities to take control of themselves.

The second presentation was by Sari Mettiainen and Kristiina Vahamaa from the Pirkanmaa University Finland who described their use of a web based discussion forum to support nursing students on practice placements in disparate clinical settings. They highlighted the problems with existing support mechanisms and their hypothesis that a web based discussion forum could provide better support. Their case study showed positive outcomes for both the university staff and the 25 students involved with increased reflection in the students writing.

I presented next some of the findings related to Web 2.0 adoption or otherwise in UK universities delivering health sciences courses.

The final presentation of the morning was by Elaine Haycock-Stuart from the University of Edinburgh. She had worked with colleagues from Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, USA to provide students on both sides of the Atlantic who were studying Health & Society/Global Health with a shared discussion board to share knowledge and ideas. The experience had demonstrated increased technical skills and knolwedgeof health systems in different countries for both UK and US based students.

The last session I attended was Barry Eaglestone from the University of Sheffield who reported on work they had carried out to examine the Information searching behaviours of Lifelong Learners. He discussed the motivations and hypothesis for the research, carried out with 91 general public volunteers and the cognitive styles which were found to be relevant. He showed a query matching algorith which had been used with audio and keystroke logging.

Unfortunately I will be missing some of the final sessions of the conference as we need to start the trek to the airport for the journey back to the UK. In general it has been a well organised conference in a lovely setting. Some of the sessions have been interesting and have given me a few ideas, but most of the material has not been particularly cutting edge or innovative. I have met various friends old and new and made some interesting contacts whith whom I will be following a few things up after the conference.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 1

Today I'm attending the European conference on e-Learning at the Grecian Palace Hotel in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

Following some delays at Heathrow yesterday we arrived at Larnaca airport to be greeted by a colleague who introduced us to his family who live locally and then took us for dinner in a traditional Cypriot taverna, where we tried a variety of local dishes.

The conference started in earnest this morning with a welcome from the chair George Papadopopolous from the University of Cyprus. Over 360 paper submissions had been received and 175 accepted - therefore will only be able to attend and give reports on a selection of the papers. Delegates for 33 countries (including several from outside the EU) have assembled fr the event, and there seems to be a large UK contingent, included some colleagues I didn't know were coming from the University of the West of England. The conference seems well organised and the setting is spectacular and warm - opening my bedroom window to look out on sunshine on the swimming pool and the Mediterranean was a great way to wake up.

The opening keynote address was given by Professor Thanasis Hadzilacos from the Open University of Cyprus. His talk entitled "What do educators care about e-learning environment architecture?" focused on the relationship between pedagogy and software architecture. He used analogies from art (Form v content) and biology (structure v function) to identify and illustrate what is general and what is special about technology used for education. The tensions between a course design and individualised learning were explored with a recognition that most learning is not the linear process dictated by modulkes, courses etc imposed by educational institutions.

The limitations of the write once, read many text, book format were described and a prgression seen to multimedia formats which are now being challenged by the need to students to have greater interactivity and mving to dynamic content which is developed by many and is never the same for 2 different participants. He concluded that we need to focus on what the learner does not on what the technology does.

The conference then split into streams and the first presentation I attended was by Frans Van Hoek from CINOP in the Netherlands who described a course he has developed for adult educations and youngsters with "low education" setting out the 7 steps model they have identified for information literacy, which is not just about digital literacy (IT) or information finding but takes the participants through the location, processing and using of information for different aspects of everyday life. He challenged the audience to decide if they are "information literate" and argued that lifelong learning is vital to stay information literate in a changing world.

After coffee I attended a session by Janina Radvilaviciute from Lithuania describing a system she has developed a learning system for the ECDL. She described how it was built and used by people with different levels of access administrator, manager, tutor & learner. Thesystem presents course materials, tests etc and has been used by over 1000 users in 3 yrs with learners achieving over 85% pas rates after using it.

The next session I wanted to attend on Providing autonomous hands-on learning and learner mobility using virtual computer technologies was canceled so I went to an interesting presentation by Lorenzo Sommaruga from the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland, describing an EU Lorenzo funded collaborative project on solid waste management (The Waste Train Project) highlighting blended learning in action. He described the training needs analysis for vocational learning across 9 countries with 8 languages. The project developed leaning materials and coordianted face to face delivery with tutors and students from all the countries and highlighted the different actors involved: author, tutor and course designer. He concluded by drawing together the lessons from the project which can be applied in other areas including the issues about coorodingation and communication with multiple actors in different geographical locations. It was interesting to see that the Web 2.0/communication tools provided were not used very much and he suggested this was because of the lack of familiarity of the tutors intriducing the materials to students.

My last session of the morning was a presentation by Lone Dirckinck-Holnfeld from Aalborg University who described some of the methodological and theoretical issues in the development of a community based Methodopedia as part of a wider EU funded blended learning project (see ). Most of the presentation was about learning design and the issues of getting shared understanding and definition of the relevant terms.

After lunch I attended a presentation by Brigitte Grote from the Free University of Berlin who had been working with the humanities faculty to move from their existing established and supported use of elearning 1.0 to incorprate web 2.0 technologies. She used a couple of case studies to illustrate how mere document delivery via the web was being enhanced with interactive tools overcoming personal, organisational and technical issues to achieve high levels of uptake and satisfaction amongst students and staff.

The next session was June Clarke from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, who described work her team have been undertaking to introduce and encourage academic staff use of Web2.0 tools. They hand delivered initiations (rather than email) to encourage those who may be less enthusiastic about their use to come to introductory sessions. 150 staff attended one of three sessions & got hands on experience with various Blackboard plugins for making quizzes, using adaptive release, blogs, wikis, podcasts and webcams. These had been successful and many of the staff who went to the sessions had used one or more of the tools, with good students acceptance and positive reviews.

During the tea break I've also had a look at who else is blogging from the conference and found:
But no one else live blogging - if anyone is blogging from the event & reads this let me know & we can link to each others brogs to give a fuller flavour of the event.
I have had a chat with Roy Williams from Portsmouth who is recording the event on wikispaces

As we move towards the end of the day (it gets dark early in Cyprus) Sue Greener from Brighton Business School presented some of the findings from her recently completed PhD on the teachers role in elearning. Her work was based on a Community of Inquiry framework and chiefly related to asynchronous online learning. She highlighted issues of control and how shifting this from teacher to student may be challenging for some staff, leading to fear and opposition to the use of these tools.

My final session of the day was by Jonny Dyer (and Jean Jackson) from the Inclusion Trust humorously describing the development of an online community to attract disaffected kids back into education. Some of the issues with Key Stage 4 kids (from 13-16 years) and what is required for a true community were discussed in a Q&A format.

The sessions finished at 18.00 which gave time for a quick drink and a chat before boarding coaches to a "traditional taverna" for the conference dinner, which involved lots of dishes & more food than anyone could eat. The table I was at with delegates from Russia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and other countries I may have missed. Olga my Russian colleague who I was sitting next to found my English (more estuary than BBC) difficult to understand, but we still managed to communicate and I learned to say hello in Russian. Discussing the Nature v Nurture debate in (at least) 3 languages was an experience! Entertainment was provided by local musicians and some delegates even managed to getup and dance.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Toronto for the Medicine 2.0 conference

I've now arrived in Toronto for the Medicine 2.0 conference. The flight was long & as work had booked me a cheap flight it came into Hamilton International rather than the local Pearson Airport, which meant bus rides - which was OK, but the fact that it was a bank holiday in Canada meant that some trains etc were not running.

First impressions from the air were of a massive country with lots of lakes and very straight roads - but green and pleasant, as they have had lots of rain this summer. The people seem very relaxed and friendly - thanks to 2 ladies I met on the transfer bus who gave me an introduction to places to see and go.

Today I'm seem to be recovering from the jet lag - we shall see if I sleep this evening - and have had a wander around the city, including the harbourside, Distillery historic district, and St Lawrence Market.I've also booked myself a trip to Niagra Falls tomorrow before the conference gets going.

I'm not quite sure what to expect from the conference - the very nature of the innovative technologies may have attracted a different crowd from the usual academic conference and the papers listed in the proceedings look interesting. I'm hoping that there will be a real buzz around the potential applications and lots of new ideas and contacts being generated - we shall see.

I will be posting my impressions here and others, including Peter Murray will be posting at If there is an official conference blog I will link to this later. There has been a dedicated social networking site using crowdvine, for conference participants, but I think anyone is welcome to contribute.

On a final note I've written this entry & done the links etc using Google's Beta release of its browser Chrome - which all seems to be working well so far. I'm also playing with a new camera on this trip.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rutgers 2006 conference blog

Peter Murray, a regular contributor to this blog, is currently in San Francisco for the Rutgers 2006 25th (Anniversary) Annual International Nursing Computer and Technology Conference and will soon be joined by other members of the hi-blogs ‘krew’.

They will be providing reports, photos and opportunities to comment on the conference blog. I hope they have a great time & I will be following it as I'm tied up in the UK with marking, moderating, exam boards & finalising a research bid at present.

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