HC 2000

Healthcare Computing Conference

Harrogate 20-22 March 2000

A personal review by 

Rod Ward


Comments by other delegates & visitors

They were asked to give their name and designation & describe their thoughts, expectations & /or desire from the conference.

HELEN SAMPSON There has been some avoidance by key speakers to answer the awkward but reality problems posed by the delegates.  Alasdair Liddell talked a great deal about speed and instant deliverables but it begs the question of where is the quality in care in all this. Education and Social Services have been mentioned on several occasions as needing to work together to, "Make a Difference" but still no one is saying how it is going to happen or be done.

PETER MURRAY I think Helen is right; those speaking 'from the top' (Alasdair Liddell, Alasdair Bellingham and Nigel Bell) didn't seem to say a great deal new, and seemed to be determined to avoid answering specific questions in any  detail. Are we any further on in actual implementation of IfH than we were 6 months or more ago?
I had hoped that the session on the Cancer Information Strategy might give us some detail on what is happening there - but again, not again a great deal of detail. There was also some concern raised about the fact that local groups are currently doing work on developing ways of providing information for patients on cancer services, yet the Cancer Information Strategy, when it comes out, may some of this work redundant, or wasted.

The 'nursing and education' session on Tuesday morning was good - papers from myself, Rod Ward and Graham Wright looked at issues of informatics education. The papers went well together, and the session was well-attended. Denis Anthony provided a good keynote on Internet 'haves and have-nots', again well-attended. Bob Gann also gave a very well-received session on NHS Direct Online.

I've heard a number of people say that they think that the selection of papers this year has been very good - but they think the NHSIA are not telling us anything.

MARK ATKINSON  The uses of new technology such as XML was presented in a couple of sessions.  It was nice to at last see the integration of electronic referrals and discharges between Primary and Secondary Health Care from Kettering who showed how a project could be brought in on a tight deadline, with the potential spinoff be rolled out both locally within other regions .  The ability of those of us in Primary Health Care to be able to access the Secondary Health Care PAS data is long overdue and the absence of a common primary and secondary Health care data architecture is lamentable and no one presented yet any plans to roll this out; the move to a global EHR is compromised till this is defined.  The use of NHSNet to disseminate information locally was welcomed, when the issues of e-learning was considered, I felt that no consensus was reached on how to implement this with real world constraints.  As this is likely to become in the future a primary education resource for people in both primary and secondary health care, I was concerned that no plans on a common media was mooted.

Overall the presentations have been of a very high standard and I have found the material interesting and useful.

DENIS ANTHONY I attend the sessions, but the single most useful activity for me is networking with other people. Where else can you meet so many health professionals, from medical, nursing and the PAMs. I do go around the exhibition, but I never get much out of visiting the stands, I think I do  it out of a sense of duty. What has been very clear is that doctors are saying that the doctor-patient relationship is changing fast, and those present seem keen that this happens, much to my surprise.

Helen Betts - This has been an interesting conference, although there has been a mix of old information giving as well as some new projects presented. I particularly enjoyed the debate yesterday afternoon, because it was a different format and fun, although the quality of the debate could have been better.

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last updated: 30.8.03