HC 2001

Healthcare Computing Conference

Harrogate 19-21 March 2001

A personal review by Rod Ward



These reports are written on the fly during the conference and posted on the web on a daily(ish) basis.

The first session I attended on Tuesday was an 08.00 breakfast session on XML in healthcare - which was the most popular session I've attended so far !!
It was organised by isoft (which seems to be a Microsoft company), who provided a very polished series of presentations illustrated by a humorous video case study.
The potential of XML to enable the transfer of information in a usable format from one technological system to another seems to have grown massively overt the last couple of years, and is now being applied in the healthcare setting.
XML demo
My second session chaired by Muir Gray was entitled: NeLH: Information standards and knowledge management in a modern health service
Muir Gray
Colin Gordon The first speaker was Colin Gordon who spoke specifically about NeLH developments and illustrated the connections between NeLH and National Service Frameworks (NSF) by reference to the Coronary Heart Disease zone. The importance of making guideline rapidly available and systematically linking these to navigation tools was put in a wider context of eGIF, MESH/Clinical Terms V3 & Dublin Core. The possible importance of HL7 was also touched on, with Targets for eGovernment, Interoperability and Metadata.
The second speaker was John Barras (an e envoy from the cabinet office) who described the eGIF (Government Information Framework) as setting the architecture across all public sector bodies with the adoption of WWW standards & XML for all government systems. John Barras
Martin Whittaker The next speaker was Martin Whittaker (Director of HL7 UK) he compared HL7 Versions 2&3 and CEN European standards and their readiness and ability to deliver the messaging standards required in healthcare - not just for administrative data but in the future for clinical data.
Paul Woodman then set out the Scottish NHS experience, particularly focussing on XML. The Scottish system being different to UK having achieved all GP & hospital trusts being connected to one network - again this was placed in a context of the eGIF & the new Government Gateway
The final speaker was Jeremy Thorp (NHS Information Policy Unit) who described the strategic context for the NeLH, identifying the stakeholders & drivers to take this work forward. Jeremy Thorp
Patti Brennan The next session I attended was organised by the BCS Nursing Specialist Group and included an agenda to look at Health Informatics research in a national and international context. The session was chaired by Patti Brennan and started with several speakers & was followed by more general discussion.
Further information about the papers in this session can be obtained from:
The first speaker was Franca Mongiardi (LIS Project Manager N. Cumbria) who highlighted issues about getting research into clinical practice. These included;
  • The volume of research
  • Critical appraisal skills
  • agreeing and deciding on the evidence needed & research to be implemented.

She saw Information for Health as helping with both the infrastructure and people issues.
Franca mongiardi
Paula Procter The second speaker was Paula Procter (Reader in Health Informatics, University of Sheffield), who addressed issues related to IT skills, professional information management and the development of an accepted healthcare Informatics. She questioned the research base for the introduction of the ECDL in the NHS, and argued that we should be looking at information maps for clinical practice, and identifying information links across disciplines for direct and distant care. She identified a Health Delivery Quadrant
Same Place
Same Time
Face to Face
Different Place
Same Time
Video Conferencing
Same Place
Different Time
Different Place
Different Time
Web Based
Sharon Fennell & Jackie Walker from Wakefield and Pontefract Community Heealth NHS Trust then presented the work being undertaken by their Health informatics Development Team emphasising the importance of keeping a clinical focus. Sharon Fennell
Peter Murray The final speaker was Peter Murray who gave an international dimesion by describing the work of various groups including IMIA-NI
The question and answer session was lively and covered the involvement of clinicans in LIS projects, Nursing informatics as opposed to multidisciplinary approaches and team working.
I then had some lunch while attending the first meeting of the technical group for the Nursing and allied health professions portals of the NeLH
In the afternoon I then attended anoother session related to NeLH, NHS Direct and the eLearning startegy, led by Veronica Fraser, and with contributions from Bob Gann and Chris Pearson. These coovered much of the same ground as the earlier session in the day but added further information about current and future developments including work on improved naigation and searching and the use of information kiosks and digital TV. The strategy for eLearing "learning Togethr in a kmodern NHS is still at an early stage and despite a flashy video (still with typographic errors) poorly thought through. Veronica Fraser
Bob Gann Chris Pearson

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To discuss any of my comments please mail: Rod.Ward@Sheffield.ac.uk

Page Created: 16.3.01

Last Updated: 20.3.01