Health Informatics Round-Up

HL7 gets a new CTO, Accenture’s John Quinn.

Jay Parkinson, MD MPH – employs the latest communication technology to offer a new kind of primary care practice.

British Computer Society says ‘One Patient, One Record’ unrealistic.

Archives of Internal Medicine study says Electronic Health Records fail to boost patient care in routine doctor visits.

Microwave Bras designed to help detect breast cancer.

Company ditches telemedicine for online gambling, shifts operations to Ireland.

The NHS IT Project

NHS IT ProjectMy new Health Informatics books have arrived. The first one I’m tackling is ‘The NHS IT Project’ by Sean Brennan.

This book is a great read so far. I particularly enjoyed the vignettes from the point of view of Patient, GP and Consultant. The idea of discovering each morning that yet another patient has been placed on a inappropriate ward on the far end of the hospital and marching the whole medical team down there for a quick check up rang very true. I also remembered a conversation with my registrar who told me not to expect electronic patient records in either of our lifetimes… How quickly things have changed! We now have the NHS NPfIT ‘appearing like an army out of the dark’ to quote the book.

The book goes on to describe the basic structure of the NHS and how the ‘legacy’ systems (many actually only recently introduced) formed the pre-NPfIT NHS IT landscape. Further explanation of the programme and it’s possible benefits and drawbacks are discussed in the latter sections of the book.

The style of writing makes this a very interesting book to read and is highly recommended for anyone interested in health IT projects. If you want to read a sample of the book check out the preview on Google Books.

Web 2.0 in Healthcare

Generated ImageI’ve been watching the Web 2.0 meme for a number of years. I run an online community site that could be said to fit into the Web 2.0 realm. At first, the term Web 2.0 stuck me as a clever bit of ironic marketing: traditional software comes in nicely packaged releases, therefore wouldn’t it be fun to pretend the next ‘version’ of the www has just been released. Well, the marketing worked and the term has gradually come to represent some of the newer and more interesting trends in website construction and use.

 If you want a quick summary of Web 2.0 in Healthcare or ‘Health 2.0’ as it’s now being termed, check out this video from the recent Health 2.0 Conference:

The IMIA has recently set up working group to look at how Web 2.0 is affecting healthcare. There is a portal site at: a new Ning social network:

The Medical Librarian’s Association also have a Web 2.0 group and have recently released the results of their  into Web 2.0 usage amoungst librarians:

There’s also a recent ‘Blog Carnival’ to celebrate Web 2.0 in Health Informatics going on:

If you want to keep up-to-date with Web 2.0 in Healthcare, Bertalan Meskó’s Scienceroll is the blog to watch.

NHS National Breast Screening System Completed

Financial Objectse-Health Insider is reporting that the new NHS National Breast Screening System has been completed by Financial Objects and InterSystems:

The NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) has replaced four different systems it previously used with a single National Breast Screening System (NBSS).

Benefits of the new system include making it easier for NHS staff to making and change appointments and clinicians are able to enter data directly using the software.

The new system, provided by Financial Objects and InterSystems, has been deployed across all 90 screening offices in England with 1000 NHS staff using the software.

Nottingham/Dell/Intel Mobile Health IT System to be Rolled Out Further

NHSThe Nottingham trial of using 3G enabled laptops is to be rolled out across the county according to the Nottingham Evening Post: 

Health staff in Notts have been testing a new mobile IT system to give them instant access to patients’ records.And the scheme has been so successful it is now being rolled out to more staff in the county.The five-month trial scheme, a partnership between Notts Health Informatics Service, Dell and Intel Corporation, reduced time spent travelling back to base to update records and cut travel time for staff by almost a third.

They estimated a 25% increase in productivity.The scheme involved 12 staff from Notts County and Nottingham City Primary Care Trusts including community matrons and paediatric physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists.

 More info on the trial:

During the three month field trial in Nottingham, Dell provided community based clinicians and therapists with 3G enabled LatitudeTM  notebooks that could automatically select either GPRS, 3G or 3G broadband (HSDPA) network access dependent on availability. This solution enabled users to have access to patient care records and clinical systems on the move regardless of location, including where appropriate when they were with patients. Anytime, anywhere access to data and systems has changed the way staff are able to work. Reducing travel time (by removing the need to travel to the office to update records, check emails etc), and being able to organise working days for greater effectiveness, without the constraint of office-only access to systems has released time which can now be used more effectively. Moreover, full real-time remote access to clinical systems has also enabled the full benefit of these to be available, driving further improvements in productivity and patient care. The results of the trial have been:

  • On average 38 minutes additional productive time per person per day and realistic potential to achieve 60 minutes
  • On average 38 minutes additional productive time per person per day and realistic potential to achieve 60 minutes
  • Potential for 25% increase in productivity
  • On average 96% of patient notes completed on the day (prior to mobile working there used to typically be a delay of up to 48 hours)
  • Users perceive an average of 70% improvement in facilities to do their job

The new mobile working environment enables staff to quickly and securely access patient records from remote locations. It also offers the potential for even greater benefits by enabling a transformational change in the way staff are able to rearrange their working practices in order to use time more efficiently and deliver faster care more safely with greater personal flexibility.

Importantly, no patient care records are stored on the user’s notebook PC to minimise any security threats. Instead, users remotely access the records stored on the Care Records Service (CRS) over a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). As well as securely logging on the VPN, users also have to be authenticated to log into the CRS using the NHS smartcard system using the readers built into each notebook PC.

Links: This Is Nottingham, Dell

Vizada Supply Telemedicine to French MOD

Satellite based telemedicine systems for the French militiary:

VizadaThe French Ministry of Defense has selected Vizada to provide mobile satellite communications to enable military surgeons to transmit images to medical staff in a different site or country, the company announced Sept. 19.

Vizada, formerly France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications, is using a solution based on Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network  (BGAN) system. The system uses simultaneous IP BGAN links, a 256 kilobit per second (kbps) streaming connection to perform the videoconferencing and relay images from the operating table to the medical staff and a background IP connection with speeds of up to 492 kbps to send medical files, analysis reports, X-rays, photos and scans. The IP traffic is relayed to Vizada’s ground station and leased line to the hospital.

 Source: Satellite Today