The Department of Health’s acting chief information officer, Matthew Swindells, has been confirmed as the opening speaker at next month’s Healthcare Computing conference.

Swindells will tell the conference that IT professionals should “step forward and play their part” to help bring about changes in the NHS.

He commented: “Information saves lives, so information professionals need to step forward and play their part in creating an NHS that is founded on quality, evidence and empowerment.”

Along with the British Computer Society’s president, Rachel Burnett, he is expected to talk in his keynote presentation on the strategic role of information in the NHS, and, in particular, the part it plays in supporting and catalysing changes described in the interim ‘Darzi review’.

Healthcare Computing (HC) 2008 is set to run 21-23 April, at Harrogate International Conference Centre.

The speech will be the opening event at this year’s HC, which for the first time, will take the form of 10 ‘mini-conferences’. Attendees are invited to mix and match these according to personal interest.

The first two days will concentrate on the implementation of national programmes across Great Britain, including focus on topics such as supporting access, disability and diversity, understanding current priorities and future challenges, making innovative technologies work, and, building capability in people and services.

On the third day care across sectors, managing risk and supporting research, and transforming services will be examined.

Professor Stephen Kay, Chairman of the HC2008 Programme Committee, says: “The traditional barriers between organisations, professions and individual practitioners are already beginning to crumble, and new working partnerships are in the making, focused on making a better joined-up service for each patient/client.

“As a result, it is now imperative that everyone in these new multidisciplinary teams understands the information needs of their colleagues more fully and uses the tools that ICTs offer.”

Other keynote speakers for the event include Bert van Hoof, Microsoft’s director of the partner and developer programme for consumer health solutions, who will present HealthVault to the conference on Wednesday 23 April.

A number of presentations and papers will also be aired, including the use of support workers in an internet chatroom for people suffering from depression, and measuring the impact of computers on consultations.

Sheila Bullas, Chair of the HC Executive Committee, added: “Any health professional interested in the application of technology in a clinical context will find at this year’s conference the most up-to-date information presented by practitioners and researchers leading the way in the use of computer technology to deliver healthcare. Twenty-five years after the first HC conference, HC2008 proves that technology in a healthcare context is as important as ever.”

The event will take place at Harrogate International Centre between 21 and 23 April.


Healthcare Computing