6th September 2013 

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Not a bad way to end the week      
News and Comment from Roy Lilley

IT and the NHS, ooooh.  On the clinical side; lots of examples of leading edge tech' saving lives and making miracles deliverable.  Admin; a different kettle of fish.


Travel halfway around the world and the ATM remembers who you are.  Walk from one hospital department to another and you have to start again; name, date of birth and all the palaver.  Buy a book from Amazon; they remember you, extrapolate your tastes and send you details of tempting stuff.  Visit outpatients.... notes missing, wrong notes, no notes. 


On a more optimistic note; GP practices are far better.  Most of their notes are computerised.  However, what the public finds mystifying is primary care notes don't talk to hospital notes and maternity notes are separate and district nurses do their own thing and Health visitors are a different story.


At this point I might be tempted to launch off into the story of the Tower of Bable.  Well, I'm not sure:


 According to Genesis 11:1; ...originally "the whole earth was of one language".  Some Yuppies arrived in Babylon and without planning permission, built a high-rise, tall enough to reach heaven.  They wanted to make a name for themselves and create a community.   

This was in direct disobedience of their instructions to 'fill the earth', meaning go on gap years and put themselves about.  God was not happy.  Head office Guidance was implemented, to 'confound their language', that they may 'not understand one another's speech'.  Thus, different languages were born and men and women scattered across the face of the earth.


I have a secret blasphemous thought.  I think God was wrong...  Look at the translation bills in the NHS and to be honest, I'm with the Babylon Yuppies;  I prefer home and I'd be curious to get a peek at heaven.


'Head office' always causes problems.  Connecting 4 Health; a previous attempt to align IT systems, so the NHS 'might speak unto itself,' was a 'head office' idea. 


C4H was an heroic piece of heavy engineering; digging up the NHS, whilst it was working and installing an IT spine.  The latter day Isambard Kingdom Brunel was Richard Granger, a man I much admired.  Head office and Political meddling, complexity, a prurient press and bureaucracy defeated the project and cost Granger his marriage and nearly his sanity.


Our latest Brunel is Tim Kelsey, another man I much admire (Sorry Tim, that might be career limiting).  He is going to have another go at C4H.  Now, (I'm whispering here) "...he gets very cross if you call his 'high-tec revolution', C4H and I don't want to upset him...".  Nevertheless, it is a noble and honourable ambition underscored by a shed-load of money (good) and ministerial blessing (not good).


The announcement says;
"The government and NHS will 'join forces' to invest �1 billion in technology..." I wasn't aware HMG and the NHS weren't 'joined'?  I detect preparations for speedy-decoupling if HMG get the merest glimpse of a Blue-Screen of Death.  Be careful Tim, they are planning an emergency exit.  The Not-The-C4H-Project is complicated, very costly, we need it to work but it could easily end in tears.  Big systems just doooo! 


What is not very costly and gave me tears of joy is a stunning and fabulous IT initiative that the St Helens and Knowsley FT have launched; 'Bring Your Own Device 2 Work'.   Oooh this is gooood! 


St H Staff can bring their own iPad or laptop or whatever, to work.  A cunning piece of software is downloaded onto their device.  It's tried and tested and based on 'sandbox' technology, creating a virtual container for business activity to take place in.  It is commonly adopted by big companies. 


From their own device staff can access work-servers but are prevented moving anything out of the ring-fenced software, through or onto the host device's system and vice-a-versa.  It saves organisations the cost of buying hardware and software, staff are always 'on' and productivity goes up.


One 'not so new' approach to NHS IT and one very new. Working to change and changing how we work.  Not a bad way to end the week.  


Have a good weekend. 


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