Digital Health News readers had a “what the flipping heck” moment in March, judging by the fact that ‘Emis and TPP sign data sharing pact’ was the most commented story of 2015.

As reader von Bismark wrote: “the eclipse isn’t until next Friday, and [we’ve not yet had] the souring of milk, the plague of locusts, two headed – nay three headed – lambs.”

Yet the two big rivals of GP IT had signed an agreement to enable direct interoperability between their clinical systems, saying they wanted to support the drive towards integrated patient care across multiple settings.

The move was welcomed by many, including the NHS’ director of digital technology, Beverley Bryant, who posted on site that it could “really open things up.”

Others noted that it was a move in the commercial interests of the two companies, given NHS England’s determination to move towards open APIs, and their respective ambitions in the mental health, community, and integrated care markets.

The most read news story, meanwhile, was “Cambridge chief exec resigns” about the departure of Dr Keith Mc Neil from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

McNeil left at the same time as his finance director, days before the Care Quality Commission recommended that it should be put into special measures, and as it struggled with a significant deficit.

At least some of the deficit, the CQC and the foundation trust regulator, Monitor, argued, was down to the trust’s eHospital programme, at the centre of which was a high-profile implementation of the Epic electronic patient record in November 2014.

Following on from this, Digital Health News editor Jon Hoeksma’s rare interview with Epic founder and chief executive Judy Faulkner was by some way the best read feature of the year.

In the interview, published at the start of December, Faulkner insisted that Cambridge is already one of the country’s most digitised hospitals, and that it will be recognised as a UK reference site for the benefits within a year.

She also urged other trusts to follow its lead, warning: “They have to be able to take some big strides to get to a different place, otherwise they will just continue to get into difficulties on financials and quality of care.”

Digital Health’s second most read story was about NHS England’s director of patients and information, Tim Kelsey.

In September, it was announced that he was to leave for a job at Telstra, the Australian telco that bought Dr Foster, the hospital comparison business he co-founded.

But Kelsey’s announcements – including his claim that the NHS could save £13.7 billion by using technology, and the Department of Health’s flat refusal to release the McKinsey report that explained how – generated hits all year.

Some of Kelsey’s specific ideas – such as his advocacy of free wi-fi across the NHS – also generated high levels of comment, both from those who were inspired by them – and from those who had further “what the flipping heck” moments.

The features of the year that gathered the most comments, meanwhile, were written by long-standing columnists Joe McDonald and Neil Paul; clinicians working in the mental health and primary care sectors, respectively.

In the most commented feature of the year, McDonald asked why the NHS couldn’t develop a Summary Care Record app for the iPhone.

In another column in October, he also asked why it couldn’t find a way to help him keep an eye on his elderly mother, by telling him how often she was using her kettle.

Fortunately, while the NHS may not have had the answer, Digital Health readers did. In his last column of the year McDonald writes about a plug that a reader recommended that can send messages to trusted third parties about any electrical item using it. Joe’s thinking about trying it out on the fairy lights…  

Top ten most read news stories:

Cambridge chief exec resigns

Kelsey to leave NHS England

DH refuses to release IT savings report

IT could save NHS £13.7 billion a year – Kelsey

Shared record scheme wins EHI Awards

NHS boost includes £1 billion for IT

Full records access promised for 2018

Chief tech officer to replace Kelsey

System C buys The Learning Clinic

New e-Referral Service still has issues

Top ten most commented news stories:

Emis and TPP sign data sharing pact

Trusts told of cut tech fund 2 awards

Kelsey pushes for free NHS wi-fi

Value of apps and wearables questioned

Tech fund 2 winners named

Tech part of 7-day NHS – Cameron

Lib Dem manifesto promises GPs by Skype

Full records access promised for 2018 in “last chance saloon”

New E-Referral Service still has issues

Top five most read features:

Judy Faulkner: Epic interview

Interview: Beverley Bryant

Can the NHS bank on IT for productivity gains?

Hit the road, map

Where there’s a Wirral there’s a way

Top five most commented features:

Joe’s view: an SCR iPhone app?

Joe’s view: interoperability is the new black

Joe’s view: of identity

Another view: of hanging up on the phone

Another view: of federation

For another look back over 2015, read Digital Health News' annual review of the year, which confirms that the big issues of the year were Cambridge, money, the election, the departure of Tim Kelsey, and the new world of digital roadmaps. And money.