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UK e-Health Week 2017: a place to listen, network and engage…next stop: Health Insights

Jane Dwelly, Director of Strategy, HIMSS UK 02.06.17

The striking thing about UK e-Health Week was the energy. From the start of the first day right to the end of Thursday people had good reasons to be at the event. People worked their way through packed personal agendas, from listening to keynotes on the mainstage, to networking on the Global Digital Exemplar zone, to being part of a panel or presenting in one of the five theatres or the Global Digital Exemplar zone.

I spent most of my time in the Green Room, welcoming keynote speakers or panellists. What was really interesting and inspiring, was the discussions that went on between the panellists before they took to the main stage. Really intense and thoughtful dialogue started backstage and continued front-of-house, and often continued long after microphones were removed.

There was a phenomenal amount of communication going on - everywhere. The Global Digital Exemplar zone ran a packed programme over two days as GDE trust staff met each other to compare strategies and demonstrate digital maturity to the wider audience. This is exciting stuff and HIMSS has worked with GDEs from the programme’s outset to support their work with EMRAM analytics and by providing platforms for communication to take place. Many thanks are due to Mark Davies, and GEM and Arden CSU’s Paul Fradgley and James Brown for facilitating this zone.

e-Health Nursing Group

Leadership in all its forms was on everyone’s agenda. Opening the conference HIMSS president and CEO Steve Lieber announced the Five Countries e-Health Nursing Group - a platform that HIMSS is creating to support nurses across the UK and Ireland deliver the digital agenda. This theme was picked up in a day’s worth of content led by NHS Digital’s Chief Nurse Anne Cooper, and by the NHS’s Chief Nurse Jane Cummings in her keynote speech. This concluded with the launch of the UK Compassion in Care Awards 2017, which HIMSS is proud to support. It was also clear that we don’t have the luxury of time to deliver the digital agenda. We heard from the NHS CCIO Keith McNeil and NHS CIO Will Smart; two people who weren’t in post at last year’s event but are now leading significant change programmes.

With the digital agenda fully inspected the talk turned to who is going to deliver and sustain it. There is a buzz and an excitement about the new focus on CIOs, CCIOs, and CNIOs – in fact anyone with the word information in their job title or description. These are the people who are going to turn the promise of a digital transformation of health and care into reality. There are some reality checkpoints here: it’s not a voluntary or amateur role. Dr Harpreet Sood reminded us of this when he updated delegates on the development of the NHS Digital Academy: people need training to do informatics jobs; we wouldn’t expect someone to take up a clinical post without the right training, so the same rigour will be applied to these new roles. We know there are people already doing this, the inherent talent of IT staff in the health and care workforce was demonstrated just a week later in the calm and efficient response to the cyber attack on many NHS organisations. The challenge now is to support existing informatics professionals and encourage and train new people to join them.

Data Saves Lives

So, we can’t stop talking and thinking and scrutinising the challenge of transforming health and care through IT. There is energy and vision to do this and an urgent need to get it right. HIMSS UK is taking a one-day event, Health Insights, to four cities in June and, as always, it’s free to NHS staff. We’ve teamed up with Connected Health Cities who are using information and technology to improve health services and show how data can save lives. We’ll be hearing from local GDE Trusts and getting a better understanding of the role of analytics in the GDE programme. Agendas and registration can be found here.

Jane Dwelly, Director of Strategy, HIMSS UK
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