UK Health Computing: Recollections and Reflections

Edited by Glyn Haynes and Denise Barnett

Publisher BCS
ISBN 978-1-902505-99-2
RRP £29.95
Reviewed by James Poxon MBCS CITP
Score 10 out of 10

How to order

UK Health Computing In creating this book, the editors have collected a wealth of information regarding the history of health computing in the UK. The book's concept is an important one, which is to capture the knowledge and experience that is often lost when informaticians (as health computing professionals are known) leave or retire from the health industry.

By documenting the recollections of BCS members who were present during the introduction and expansion of information systems in the health service, and by presenting their reflections and conclusions, the lessons learned over the last fifty years are preserved to make sure that present-day professionals can see how the current health computing environment evolved.

This collection covers an extremely wide range of subjects, from the earliest introduction of fragmented health informatics systems in the 1960s, through to the current NHS Connecting for Health programme. Presented in a function-based format, the book covers the computing impact on departmental systems, clinical specialties, primary and community care, nursing and common issues.

These chapters delineate a collection of 29 individual areas of expertise, presented in a consistent format that shows the high quality of editing, and each is highly readable thanks, to the narrative writing style and extensive use of subheadings. Each area is supported by detailed references to historical published documents providing a detailed academic assurance to the individual recollections.

Clearly, the appeal of this book will be mostly to those people either working or researching in the health arena, especially as there is a very direct link with clinical practice. In addition, recurring themes throughout the book show the influence that the government has had on the development of health computing, coupled with the pioneering and continuing contribution that the members of the BCS health informatics groups have made to the success of the UK health service.

In summary, this book is a treasure trove of historical information provided by the people who were there at the time, making it a vital research resource, both for historians and for future informatics professionals. For anyone interested in this field, this book is an excellent read.

More information

August 2008