I am just back from a few days holiday and felt a little reluctant to be making my way over to Olympia for the Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology (HETT) show. All too often technology shows remind me of how buoyant the IT industry used to be back in early 2000’s before the ostentatious approach to marketing fell out of the IT industry and trade shows have never, in my opinion, really rebounded since. That was all to change, as for the first time in many years, I actually had to queue to get into Olympia.
The exhibition space was absolutely crammed with vendors plying the why and wherefores of their technology. But, it was not just vendors, delegates from NHS trusts, local authorities and GP practices showed up in their hoards and I was impressed. Public sector IT providers have, in some instances justifiably so, been royally bashed for not delivering. Today was different, there was a real vibe in the exhibition, vendors excited and end users interested in what was on offer.
I only made it to a couple of seminars – isoft talking about a true EPR and the need for it to be open, vendor agnostic and the need for wider integration into the clinical practice. In fact, integration was a nigh theme of the day, with the ever dynamic Stephen Chilton, IT services director from University Hospitals Birmingham, waxing lyrical about an integration engine from BluePrism and how he has used it to link self service technology from intouch with health with his wider PAS system. Stephen Chilton is not one to do things lightly, he spoke about how your first contact with your patient (at the self service kiosk) should be capitalised on and how the information captured, or ‘prescribed’ at their first point of contact, could and should be used to deliver a better experience and better patient care. He also spoke about the need for healthcare to be less introverted and look outside of their own industry to learn best practice and look for solutions that can be applied to healthcare.
I would have loved to stick around for longer, but the take away from the day: healthcare IT is alive and kicking and there seems to be an air of expectancy around the real benefit it can deliver in the wake of the dismantling of the national IT programme, NPfIT.