The BCS ASSIST Annual Conference 2012

The BCS ASSIST annual conference will examine the value that informatics adds to the delivery of health and social care.  Public sector, and particularly health service, informatics deployments are heavily criticised for not delivering; though Ian Watmore, permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office has stated that most are successful.

This presents a challenge for informaticians.  How do we ensure that projects add value and that we gain recognition for those projects that deliver the planned benefits?  This is often a difficult call.  When PACS was introduced there were occasions when surgeons in theatre complained that they did not have the x-rays they required to operate.  PACS is generally regarded as a success.  This is enhanced for the patient from (say) the West Midlands, who had been referred to a specialist London hospital, was reassured that the physicians at the specialist unit could see x-rays taken at her local hospital via the computer.  Such a benefit required not only PACS but also the connectivity and the relevant protocols to ensure that the correct information was in the right place at the right time.

This conference stream examines adding value through the deployment of informatics. This is examined from various perspectives with an opportunity at the end of the day to draw out the general lessons that will enable us to ensure that informatics projects consistently deliver their intended added value.

We start the day by asking a chief executive why he would invest scarce resources on informatics.  Is there something intrinsic in informatics that adds value, or does it enable something else to happen so informatics adds value indirectly? Malcolm Stamp, who has been Chief Executive at four provincial teaching hospitals and commissioned one of the first PFI hospitals, will provide an insight into these questions.

In the same session we will be discussing whether informatics leaders need to evolve and take on additional roles and responsibilities. Do people in informatics teams need to gain additional skills, to equip them for the 21st century? Glyn Evans, who worked in local authorities and is now a senior associate fellow at the Warwick Business School (as well as being the president of SocITM), will explore these issues.

Clinicians can provide a different perspective of the value that informatics can add.  They are often looking to see how they can deliver more effective and relevant care or how they can deliver the existing care more efficiently, making time to care for more people.  Dr Masood Nazir, General Medical Practitioner at Hall Green and Health Information Lead – Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group will provide a clinician’s view on this topic.

Two directors of informatics (John Thornberry and Mark Blakeman) will explain how they have added value and continue to add value using real life examples.  Shane Tickell, who worked in the NHS before supplying information systems to aid health care delivery, will give his views on the traits of health service organisations that enable projects to deliver added value.

Nigel Guest from Capita will describe how the technique “Benefits Realisation Management” can identify potential benefits so their value to healthcare is understood. When there are cash releasing projects it can be notoriously difficult to ensure that the money is extracted from the correct budget line at the right time. Lucy Owens will describe how this has been achieved and outline the methodology that ensures this happens every time.

A summary of the day, drawing out the themes and best practice will be provided by recent entrants to informatics.  It is hoped that this will introduce some idealism to the subsequent discussion where delegates will have the opportunity to make explicit the ‘lessons learnt’ from the day.

We look forward to seeing you there and your contribution.