Healthcare Computing Conference
Harrogate 22-24 March 2004
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, as there are 5 concurrent themes I can not attend all sessions so these comments are based on my own experiences and views.
The official conference web sites is at: http://healthcare-computing.co.uk/
Apologies for the lack of the lack of photos during the morning sessions which were because all of the batteries for my camera & I had to scrounge recharging facilities (Thanks Peter).
|I started the Tuesday morning by attending the first session of
several giving an overview of the National Programme for NHS IT. Gordon Hextall
(Chief Operating Officer NPfIT), who set out to describe the objectives and
scope, current achievements with implementation and next steps within the
The background strategy documents were summarised, highlighting the potential to reduce adverse events, and focusing on the core components;
He described the achievements so far; development of professional teams of clinicians and IT specialists for detailed specification and procurement, Outcome Based Specification (OBS), proof of solution and the award of contracts on schedule.
Some forthcoming targets and timetables were described over the next 6 years, with additional work required to include prison, dental and social services.
Duncan McNiel then took over to describe the technical infrastructure and highlighting the important role of Regional Implementation Directors (RIDs).
Brief consideration was also given to security and patient consent, including access control and audit. The section on assurance testing disappeared into SANDPITS (IT testing suites) while looking at integration.
The final presentation within this section was by Steve Walker (GMS Payments project director), who set out the stages and requirements for GPs to receive their funding under the QMAS system.
|The next session I attended was in the theme Developments in
Primary and Community Care chaired by Dr Mike Bainbridge
|Dr Simon De Lusigan spoke about "Features of an effective
primary care data quality programme" describing key features and findings
of a literature review which highlighted the variability of GP computing and
only looked at Structured "Read coded" data. The coding imposed a
biomedical model and takes time. The results were presented around 8 themes
which were groups into 4 areas; measuring quality, learning form the data,
understanding the data and money. Further information is available at
|Dr Richard Sills described his work with US colleagues on
"Computer patient interview as an important part of the EHR", which
he argued could reduce the incidence of adverse events and diagnostic errors.
Current poor history taking and workflow problems could be improved with high
patient acceptance and more time for consultations. Further information
available at: http://www.medicalhistory.com
|Tanya Braton presented work from Brunel University and partners
to provide remote patient monitoring in residential care homes under the
e-Vital EU funded project. They used BP, heart rate and pO2, ECG monitors etc.
with the data being sent to the GP, local hospital and Madrid who could then
advise local staff on management. It had been well received by staff and
patients and reduced the need for hospitalisation Further information
The final presentation of the morning was mine about the evaluation of NMAP
|For the first part of the afternoon I attended a workshop entitled
"Enabling ehealth: what research is needed to underpin policy?"
chaired by Professor Ray Jones. The research is part of a wider study for the
Service Delivery Organisations (SDOs) and was a component of the stakeholder
consultation to examine research priorities in approx. 5 years time.
The presentation was described as being by the Jean, Ray and Graham show
|Ray Rogers provided an overview of the purposes of the workshop and set out
a little of the policy context explaining how the team had identified draft
recommendations and research questions, on which they intended to obtain the
thoughts of this expert audience.
Graham then set out 12 areas with the policy context, contribution of ICT and draft recommendations which the audience used electronic keypads to allocate priority to. Jean then led the discussions. The first few questions were to profile the audience and get them used to the voting system. A score of 1=low priority & 9=high priority. The scores gained for each policy area are given below:
|For the last part of the afternoon I popped down to the EPR
arms - a live version of the column by Sean Brennan which appears in
NB EPR=Popular Revolutionary Army in Mexico (according to Google) !
|Scene - a british bar.. somewhere near Hallifax or Hudersfield|
|All were welcomed by Sean & the barman (Paul Brown) and especially 3 of
the regulars (Richard Silk - GP, John Ironmonger - Computer Supplier &
Michael Fowles - Surgeon) who got a beer and took a seat before the evenings
proceedings which kicked off with a pub quiz (handled with
system) to win crates of beer - the results of which were not announced
until the end of the evening.
Sean then gave a presentation in his own inimitable style, which although light hearted addressed the reasons and barriers for putting IT into healthcare, including confidentiality & IT supply, all affecting the likelihood of adoption and the trade off between complexity and ease of use.
It included various interaction with the regulars and wider crowd both verbally and via the electronic voting system and various examples of poor clinical records and messages and gags
Q What's the difference between GP fundholders and the IRA
A You can negotiate with the IRA.
In my opinion this was the most entertaining session of the conference so far.
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To discuss any of my comments please mail: Rod.Ward@uwe.ac.uk
Page Created: 21.3.04
Last Updated: 23.3.04