The E-Health Insider Awards 2009 in association with BT were presented at the Hilton on Park Lane in London on 20 October. The winners were over the moon, gobsmacked and delighted – but keen to stress that most of the projects were team efforts that had taken years to come to fruition. Lyn Whitfield reports.

The NHS is facing some challenging times, as Sir Jonathan Michael, managing director, BT Health, acknowledged in his opening address to the E-Health Insider Awards 2009 in association with BT.

“The old saying ‘may you live in interesting times’ is very apposite today,” he told the 350 guests gathered for the awards ceremony at the Hilton on Park Lane Hotel in London.

“The Health Informatics Review and the Darzi Review emphasised quality and efficiency, and those two must work hand in hand. The challenge to us all is to deliver better, more efficient healthcare through ICT. We need to build on what has been achieved and push forward.”

Overall winner: NHS Waltham Forest

The awards, now in their third year, showed that many NHS organisations are seeking to do just that. Almost 200 entries were received for the nine categories announced on the night alongside an overall winner and the Healthcare ICT Champion of the Year.

The first winners up to receive their award from broadcaster Emily Maitlis were from NHS Waltham Forest, which won the healthcare IM&T team of the year category, sponsored by Assist, for its implementation of the RiO community and mental health system.

“We are over the moon,” said head of ICT Simon Midlane straight after collecting the award. “This has been a team effort. We have had lots of commitment from BT and the London Programme for IT and the clinical team.” A colleague, Carla Morgan, agreed. “The health service does not always get a good press, so this is great,” she said.

Midlane was probably even more over the moon later in the evening, when NHS Waltham Forest went on to win the overall award, sponsored by BT Health.

Meanwhile, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Psychotherapy and ICT services had won the best use of IM&T to promote patient safety, sponsored by FirstDataBank Europe, for P2P, an internet-based support network enshrining therapeutic community principles.

Dr Mike Rigby, consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy, said he was “delighted” to see work recognised that had started in 2004. His colleague, Joan Longford, explained: “We wanted to think the project through very carefully before bringing it to fruition. We have shown that technology can be really good at supporting people with ongoing conditions.”

From symptom checkers to audit

The third set of winners to make their way through the candle-lit tables at the Hilton’s ballroom were from Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation trust, which won best use of wireless healthcare, sponsored by Cisco, for extending its secure wireless network to remote sites.

Senior network and security analyst Ryan Hewitt said he was “speechless” at winning the award, but fortunately managed to add that it was “nice to get some recognition” for the work his team had put in.

His colleague, Mike Ives, added that ultimately the project had been about improving patient care and saving lives at remote sites along the south coast and Channel Islands. “This was a technology project, but it was about better patient care,” he said.

The next category was best use of ICT in patient and citizen involvement in healthcare, sponsored by Microsoft. It was won by NHS Direct digital public for the support service’s health and symptom checkers.

NHS Direct commercial director Ronnette Lucraft, admitted that the win had not been a great surprise, since NHS Direct digital public was the only organisation shortlisted by the judges. Even so, was “proud” to have won for a project that set out to develop something the public could use – and succeeded.

Demonstrating the generally high standard of the entries, the next category, excellence in healthcare information management, sponsored by IMS Health, had joint winners.

North Bristol NHS Trust won for a business intelligence initiative that has moved it from working with out of date figures to current information. And the Audit Commission won for its web-based National Benchmarker, which was developed for audit but now used by 3,000 NHS users as a BI tool.

Howard Davis said of the Audit Commission project: “We are very pleased to receive this recognition for what has been two or three years of our lives.

“I am proud of the work we did as a team, but I am most proud that this is now being used by senior managers and clinicians to influence the direction of their organisations and to focus resources where they are needed and can be used most effectively.”

Industry and NHS partners

The winner of the next categories, healthcare ICT product innovation, sponsored by Quicksilva, and excellence in healthcare ICT delivery, sponsored by E-Health Insider Primary Care, were company-trust partnerships.

MCP Systems Consultations and Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust, won the first category for a 3M RFID case note tracking system, which has dramatically reduced the number of notes going missing.

While McKesson Shared Services and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust payroll won the second for a project that overcame “serious payroll issues” at the organisation.

Frank Myers and Helen Gillard of MCP said they were “over the moon” “surprised” and “delighted” by their win, but even more pleased that the project had made a difference to staff working in Walsall. “I cannot think of anything better to do,” said Myers.

His sentiments were echoed by Pete Rogers from Leicester, who said its project with McKesson Shared Services had been a good example of partnership working that had “delivered something very good” for the trust’s employees.

Joining up health – and social care

On stage, E-Health Insider editor Jon Hoeksma promised those waiting for the dancing to start that “we are almost through the categories now.” The winners of the second to last category, best use of telehealth and telecare, sponsored by ISoft, went to NHS Norfolk, Norfolk County Council and the Barchester Health Group.

Wendy Hardicker, assistant director of out of hospital care at NHS Norfolk, said: “We have had a fantastic evening and it is really, really great to win. We have worked in partnership for two years to get where we are today, which is using telehealth to deliver for the residents of Norfolk.”

The final category of the main awards was innovation in healthcare interoperability, sponsored by InterSystems. The winner was NHS Connecting for Health’s GP2GP team. John Williams, a GP from Guildford, stressed the team aspect.

“Collectively, we have done a lot of work over three years and it has been great to be part of that team,” he said. “We have been able to move records between three different systems in minutes when patients move from one practice to another. Patients are often astonished when that happens, because previously it would have taken six weeks or three months – or even longer.”

Healthcare ICT Champion of the Year: Andy Inniss

The very final award of the evening, however, went to the Healthcare ICT Champion of the Year, a special category voted for by the readers of E-Health Insider and its sister titles.

Seven potential champions allowed their names to go forward this year, and the winner was Andy Inniss, control training supervisor in South Western Ambulance NHS Trust’s control room in Exeter.

Inniss said he was “absolutely gobsmacked” by the award, which he had not expected to win. “I saw some of the other names on the list worked at big trusts in important positions and I did not think I would get it,” he admitted.

However, there was huge local support for Inniss, who developed an online training module for staff moving to a new triage system, which has been used to train hundreds of staff. “People can give feedback, and based on that we have developed video and other features quite quickly,” he said. “So I’ve really developed my IT skills as well.”

See the winners: Photographs of the winners are now availble on the awards’ dedicated website.

9-10 November 2009, The ICC Birmingham

The work of the winners of this year’s E-Health Insider Awards in association with BT will be featured at E-Health Insider Live ’09. There will also be the opportunity to meet some of the winning entrants in the free exhibition at the event.

E-Health Insider Live ’09 is the essential, two day exhibition and conference at The ICC in Birmingham. ore than 60 exhibitors are booked for the exhibition, which also features a free best practice showcase.

The exciting conference programme, whose principal sponsor is BT, has four streams exploring “the big picture” on healthcare IM&T, benefits realisation, digital patient care and healthcare interoperability.

And there’s no need to be stuck in your hotel overnight, because E-Health Insider has organised a great comedy night at Jongleurs, which should be a fantastic entertainment and networking opportunity. Register now.