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Reflections on HC 2007

11th April 2007
patientmedrecords1

On the first morning of the Healthcare IT 2007 conference Lord Hunt, the Minister of State for NHS Reform and the man responsible for NPfIT, spoke. The withdrawal of NHS Connecting for Health's speakers from the conference led many to expect an important announcement - but they were disappointed.

Lord Hunt stressed the importance of healthcare IT in improving patient safety and the quality of care several times. He also stressed the importance of decentralisation and local ownership of the implementation of NPfIT, called the NHS Local Ownership Programme (NLOP), though he did not say what form this would take.

Nor did he say much on NHS CFH's procurement of Additional Systems Capacity and Capability, which will be a catalogue of specialist clinical systems available to the NHS, though representatives of NPfIT's Local Service Providers were listening carefully. You can read another view of his speech on E-Health-Insider (see link on the right).

I chaired a light-hearted debate on the motion : “To increase patient confidentiality, this house believes that patients should retain their own health records�. The motion was carried with a small majority. Though the debate wasn't serious the attitudes of some attendees to the motion were. After the event I was approached by a number of animated people with distinct views on the matter.

Simon Dodds (subject of a previous FHIT entry) spoke cogently about his successful IT enabled transformation of the management of leg ulcers. Simon has a background in computer science and is also a vascular surgeon—a rare combination. Nonetheless, he thought the process of improvement he had applied could be applied by others. He also agreed with me that people are not afraid of change, but of the process of change—which is often poorly effected.

The Healthcare IT conferences in Harrogate may be an ember of their glory days, but one determined to continue glowing. Maybe in sensing that, I enjoyed HC 2007 more than its recent predecessors.

Given the UK release of the movie 300 about the battle of Thermopylae, it is topical for me to refer to a tale of ancient Greece.

The crowd jeers an old man looking for a seat at the Olympic Games until he reaches the Spartan section, when every Spartan younger than him, and some older, stand and offer him their seat. The crowd applauds and the old man turns to it and says: "Ah, all Greeks know what is right, but only the Spartans do it."

After 20 years in healthcare IT maybe I have become jaded, but many of the presentations reminded me of that tale: many know what to do, few do it.

This entry was originally published on FutureHealthIT.com


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