PM to announce patients' NHS records can be shared with private firms

Wow - developments on opening access to healthcare records seem to be coming daily now! If significant amounts of anonymised patient records are indeed to be made available (assuming appropriate consent) there will be enormous interest in software components to access, search and combine the data for research and more widely...

Interesting developments re access to healthcare data, UHL IT plans & open source in the NHS

Thanks to project consultant Malcolm Newbury, our expert in open healthcare informatics, for heads up on following recent developments of direct relevance to BRISSkit:

Open access to GP data :

Leicester NHS £600m IT partner plans

Bill Ayward of Moorfields video on why open source is perfect for the NHS:

The JISC Managing Research Data community & biomedical and health sciences interest group

Today and yesterday I attended an excellent JISC Managing Research Data Programme #jiscmrd Launch event for phase 2 organised by the programme manager Simon Hodson (JISC): projects running from 6 to 18 months between 2011-13. I presented an overview of BRISSkit alongside the other 3 UMF funded projects and presentations from the JANET network brokerage and Eduserv, who will host the pilot cloud applications. The idea here was to inform the 27 new institutional projects across the UK of what is being developed in order that they may use, trial and make informed decisions about their own requirements.

On day 2 I showed how the BRISSkit project followed on from the development of institutionally hosted LAMP stack database solutions to support the JISC MRD Phase I Halogen project and of course the BRICCS project in the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit.

Later an interested group formed a breakout session to look at key challenges for biomedical and health researchers in managing research data including

  • policy - examples of national policies & negotiations with NHS partners
  • risk - identification and management including associated costs and potential improvements to DMPonline
  • metadata and standards - systems being trialled such as ISO compliant DDI3 at UCL Institute of Child Health for questionnaire data; IHE OpenXDS in BRISSkit for clinical data ingest & use of SNOMED CT ontologies in BRISSkit and at Imperial
  • secure research data storage - UCL virtual environment & thin clients being of particular interest

Participants included representatives from UCL Institute of Child Health (Stelios Alexandrakis, Anthony Thomas); Leicester UMF BRISSkit project (Jonathan Tedds); Imperial School of Public Health (Michael Soljak); University of West of England (Amanda Conway, Jennifer Crossley); Hertfordshire (Bill Worthington), Newcastle (Lindsay Wood). Bill Worthington has just blogged in more detail about the session and we intend to provide further details and examples on the areas identified above, seeking input more widely in the programme and beyond. We are hoping to identify best practice and avoid reinventing wheels where possible. Please add comments to his blog or here and we will hopefully set up a wiki resource asap to support this.

Great meeting and excellent venue at the National College, Nottingham with UMF quote of the meeting from James Wilson (Oxford): "ViDaaS is both SaaSy and Infrastructury" ! Thanks also due to fellow evidence gatherers Laura Molloy (Glasgow) & Meik Poschen (Manchester). We will be attempting to record key issues across this fast developing area throughout the Programme.


Skunkworks @ EHI Live 2011

Over the last couple of days we (Jonathan, Nick and I) have been exhibiting BRISSkit at the E-Health Insider EHI Live 2011 event at the N.E.C. in Birmingham. It's an exhibition showcasing the latest I.T. developments in the health industry. A majority of the exhibitors were companies hoping to show off their latest products to I.T. managers, but there was a skunkworks section that fits what we do quite well. For those of you not in the know; skunkworks is a term widely used in business and engineering to describe a group that is tasked with working on advanced and innovative projects, unhampered by bureaucracy.

On our stand we had a poster giving an overview of the BRISSkit concept, and a couple of laptops showing more in depth information and demonstrations. Using these we explained BRISSkit to lots of interested people - both passers-by and folk that specifically came to find us. I think that we have made some good links with other Hospital/University groups as well as folk at various other levels.

As well as the stand we also had a couple of slots to give a talk about the project. Nick and Jonathan did these and had some very interesting questions.

All in all it's been a fun and informative, if rather exhausting, couple of days!