Round up of this issue

Groups organise meetings on variety of subjects.

In HINOW we regularly report on the BCS Health Informatics Forum and specialist group meetings. In this issue Helen Wilcox reports on the October Forum meeting where Adam Thilthorpe, Andy Doyle and Carol Hulm gave updates on the progress towards professionalism and how the development of SFIA, the skills framework, and of ISEB qualifications can contribute to that progress.

Adam notes that there are 18,000 chartered IT professionals (CITP) registered but that it is a pity that this standard is not demanded by the industry. The support of employers is essential and without this a voluntary scheme can only have limited success.

Each year ASSIST undertakes a workforce survey. In his report on this year's survey, John Leach highlights the need for accreditation, an important step in the development of professionalism.

In health, where the safety of patients is increasingly dependent on a professional approach to informatics, it is particularly concerning that professional accreditation or registration is still not required before someone is allowed to practice. The Department of Health and UKCHIP, as well as the BCS, are all making slow but steady progress in the right direction.

The Primary Health Care Specialist Group held its autumn conference in October with the theme of 'Mind the Gap' and emphasis on maintaining the continuity of patient care. During the event, the John Perry prize was awarded to Kate Warriner of Liverpool PCT for the work she and the PCT are doing with EMIS web. The prize is awarded annually for innovation and excellence in UK primary care computing. Congratulations to Kate.

The October meeting of the Northern Group heard from Mark Blakeman on how Choose and Book is working in Wythenshawe Hospital. He also recognised the potential risk of 'gaps'. Choose and Book is now part of the normal working of every hospital and, while there is considerable success, Mark discussed the challenges as government policy changes and the use of information needs to change to meet it. For me, this highlights the need for local impact to be considered more carefully when national policies are being determined and implemented and the importance of defining end-to-end process - otherwise there is the risk of 'losing' patients between the gaps.

The showcase event of the Forum, HC2009, will include more examples of good practice, good implementations and how to achieve them than in previous years. And more to promote understanding of how informatics can enable modern health and care practice.

Forthcoming events of all of our groups are listed here.

December 2008