Archives for category: Conference

…and maybe the NHS Future Forum?

I’m delighted to share with you this guest post from Dr Shaibal Roy of the DH Future Forum, who is speaking at the Digital Health Conference tomorrow.

On Friday I am going to present an account of the Maps and Apps crowdsourcing project. I decided to ‘flip’ my presentation, i.e. try to use the opportunity to present as an opportunity to collaborate, with presentations shared in advance on YouTube.

I often find the discussions at the end of presentations to be the most useful part, yet there always seems to be time pressures that curtail the Q&A.

So IMHO the main implication of sharing presentations in advance is that we can spend more time working together, asking each other detailed questions and challenging the answers.

Which also seems relevant to the NHS Future Forum.

The Open Future Forum

With your help and critical friendship, I’d like to help influence the NHS Future Forum to ‘flip’ and invert the classic engagement model of experts reaching out to their communities.

As a result of MapsandApps, I am convinced a crowdsourcing approach will help us take more futuristic concepts for health and social care (disruptive) innovation, for example, Apps, Social Media, Big Data, etc, to a useful starting point for shared and distributed actions.

What do you think of a flipped NHS Future Forum? Would you contribute?

So what?

Yesterday I saw something about “Digital QIPP” and I will try and read about it before my presentation. I think our conversations, online and offline, will influence new approaches to the Nicholson challenge, and I look forward to exploring this with you tomorrow.

Shai (@SR_disrupt)


I didn’t participate in this week’s HANDIhealth Tweetchat, but I’m always interested in what they’re saying, particularly since they are going to be running a workshop at the #Digihealthcon

This chat focused on:

Standards- are they a Barrier to Innovation?


Top resources

Related tags

#openehr #fhir #nhshd #careapps #digihealthcon

See Twitter for more tweets, people, videos and photos for #handihealth

@ianmcnicoll The Usability Problem Pt 1: What the EMR Market Can Learn From Twitter #Handihealth #NHShackday >> in spades(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 16:07:35 +0100)
@HANDIhealth Are standards a barrier to innovation? Join us tonight to discuss. Follow the #handihealth hashtag between 8-9pm(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 18:34:44 +0100)
@HANDIhealth 60 mins until we begin our #handihealth chat tonight. Join us at 8pm to discuss ?Standards are a barrier to innovation?(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:03:42 +0100)
@Time4Recovery Personal Health Record app underscores importance of using patient friendly medical terms #mapsandapps #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:18:15 +0100)
@HANDIhealth 10 mins until we start the #handihealth chat. This week?s topic is ?Standards are a barrier to innovation: Discuss? Join us at 8(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:51:33 +0100)
@HANDIhealth Evening all and welcome to tonight?s #handihealth chat #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:01:18 +0100)
@HANDIhealth Tonight’s topic is Standards are a barrier to innovation: Discuss #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:02:00 +0100)
@hildegardfranke #handihealth Evening all(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:02:16 +0100)
@HANDIhealth Hi @hildegardfranke #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:03:17 +0100)
@robdykedotcom Shared this xkcd cartoon thousands of times #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:03:19 +0100)
@mrcthompson @robdykedotcom love it! #handihealth I recall seeing this in one of the presenters slides at the newcastle event. so true(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:04:52 +0100)
@HANDIhealth Who else do have tonight? @ianmcnicoll ? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:05:50 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Hi all(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:06:10 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @robdykedotcom : Shared this xkcd cartoon thousands of times #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:06:42 +0100)
@wylpf So what exactly do we mean by Standards in this context? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:06:46 +0100)
@HANDIhealth Good evening. Shall we start by clarifying what we mean by standards? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:07:13 +0100)
@hildegardfranke #handihealth we should probably narrow the statement a bit to say ‘imposed top down standards are a barrier to innovation’?(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:07:25 +0100)
@mrcthompson Are we talking about Health Information / Data Standards? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:08:57 +0100)
@HANDIhealth @ianmcnicoll mentioned “top down stds can inhibit, emergent standards by consensus should not if done right” can you elaborate? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:10:20 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke wouldn’t always agree with that. Knowing what to aim for by using a standard can be helpful #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:10:54 +0100)
@mrcthompson RT @robdykedotcom : Shared this xkcd cartoon thousands of times #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:12:36 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth . If standards dev is agile and responsive + allows extensions, it should be poss to allow innovation. Kinda how web stds work(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:12:51 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @wylpf #handihealth I believe there is a difference between knowing what to aim for and having to comply with a standard imposed from above(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:13:00 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth the challege is on managing innovation and local variation whilst maintaining the best community consensus. Needs communication(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:14:33 +0100)
@HANDIhealth are there any models that can be learned from? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:15:23 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Managing clinical content stds as small, agile, rapidly iterated components (like apps) is the best approach. ‘Archetypes'(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:17:34 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @ianmcnicoll : Managing clinical content stds as small, agile, rapidly iterated components (like apps) is the best approach.. #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:18:59 +0100)
@wylpf @HANDIhealth @ianmcnicoll Are we talking the terminology standards here or messaging / storage standards? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:20:36 +0100)
@Time4Recovery RT @robdykedotcom : Shared this xkcd cartoon thousands of times #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:21:51 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Terminology + content structure standards e.g. Allergy, Blood pressure. Not persistence though good if they can be(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:22:56 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth . Messaging std clearly necessary between business prtnrs but not essential to terminology / content stds.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:24:46 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth technical interoperability is easy bit, and messaging is not a good way of definig semantics.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:26:01 +0100)
@wylpf @ianmcnicoll hmm, I think a stable terminology standard (if its a good one) is better than an ever changing standard #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:27:36 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @wylpf #handihealth what do you mean by a ‘stable terminology standard’?(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:28:58 +0100)
@robdykedotcom RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth technical interoperability is easy bit, and messaging is not a good way of definig semantics.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:30:01 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth eHealth stds are never stable, change inevitable. Agree we need as much stability as poss in both terminology/structure but ..(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:30:31 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke one who’s structure (but not necessarily content) is relatively fixed for example #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:31:04 +0100)
@robdykedotcom stds add value and lower barriers to development and innovation; and I like the way they stack up #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:31:36 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth “Innovation eats standards for breakfast” to borrow a phrase.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:31:53 +0100)
@wylpf @ianmcnicoll very true, but innovation can break interoperability #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:34:22 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth OSI model works well for tech stds. Not so well for clinical content stds which r social constructs and need negotiated(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:34:26 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @wylpf #handihealth still not sure what you mean – can you give an example?(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:34:48 +0100)
@wylpf @ianmcnicoll a lot of recent app innovation is built using existing standards but only interoperable with itself #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:35:02 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth technical interoperability is easy bit, and messaging is not a good way of definig semantics. #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:36:14 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth @wylpf Absolutely agree. Apps will create silos but I think the right approach can help devs build shared content models(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:37:33 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke for example the drugs standard dm+d has been stable in terms of model since 2006 #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:38:04 +0100)
@robdykedotcom @wylpf @ianmcnicoll I’m happy with that; 3rd pty stuff (ESB, ETL, other middleware magic) fixes broken #interoperability #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:38:55 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth We think that #openEHR has cracked this problem of distributed content stds development, using web tools(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:39:03 +0100)
@wylpf @ianmcnicoll here’s hoping! Depends whether interoperability is a requirement out of the box, if not, silo apps are worth doinf #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:39:15 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke implementers like dm+d as they know the model and that its not likely to change #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:39:50 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Yup dm+d is a good example of a sensible std to represent meds and allergy agents inside a medication or allergy structure.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:40:12 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth was at a meeting in Edinb. yesterday where exactly that was agreed with Allergy structure based on GP2GP archetype + dm+d(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:41:18 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @ianmcnicoll : We think that #openEHR has cracked this problem of distributed content stds development, using web tools #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:41:27 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth dm+d also adopted as standard medication terminology (UK wide? ) but no common med structures yet.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:43:05 +0100)
@griffglen #handihealth I suggested last week that loads of innovation might also be a barrier to the adoption of standards(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:43:34 +0100)
@robdykedotcom Designing digital public services: where we went wrong via @guardian #handihealth great reflective piece(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:44:03 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @wylpf #handihealth yes, agree that dm+d is useful to implementers as a terminology standard(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:44:27 +0100)
@robdykedotcom #handihealth – last tweet not ‘on topic’, sorry(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:44:42 +0100)
@griffglen @HANDIhealth @ianmcnicoll what does open EHR directly compete with in the stds domain? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:44:45 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @robdykedotcom : Designing digital public services: where we went wrong @guardian great reflective piece #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:46:02 +0100)
@wylpf @ianmcnicoll there are some standards around electronic prescriptions but different in England/Wales/Scotland etc ūüė¶ #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:46:21 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @wylpf #handihealth exactly – and that’s the implementers nightmare(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:47:09 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Traditionally #openEHR competes w HL7v3 and 13606 but times are changing as v3 not delivering as hoped (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:48:50 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke yup, you’re someone like Boots or Lloyds and you want to have one system across all sites…very hard to do! #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:50:19 +0100)
@griffglen @robdykedotcom #handihealth – good example of where a leader (Robert Metcalfe) encouraged vendors to club together 3Com Xerox and Banyan(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:50:38 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth yes – at least 8 different ways of expressing GP medication. That was reason for Meds stds workshop (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:53:13 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @wylpf #handihealth no, not 1 system, but an agreed way of expressing the same thing (e.g. prescribed medication) so it can be shared(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:53:26 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @ianmcnicoll : Traditionly #openEHR competes w HL7v3 & 13606 but time changing v3 nt delivering as hoped #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:55:07 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke sorry didn’t mean a single system across all, just say Boots using one system in all Boots stores #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:56:01 +0100)
@wylpf @hildegardfranke agree with not having a *single* system for everyone to use! #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:56:29 +0100)
@griffglen @HANDIhealth @ianmcnicoll #handihealth as a subset or superset – which way round? would the HL7 community see it that way too?(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:57:11 +0100)
@hildegardfranke @griffglen #handihealth subset or superset of what?(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:57:49 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Hl7 community agreed that v3 is complex and not working – latest have thing is #FHIR more like archetypes(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:01:18 +0100)
@wylpf @ianmcnicoll going for the 80/20 split in terms of coverage. Probably a wise idea #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:03:02 +0100)
@griffglen @hildegardfranke #handihealth where is the overlap? are stds interchangeable? therefore interoperable(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:03:43 +0100)
@mrcthompson it was suggested at last chat that #handihealth provide a resource to educate on stds. I would love to see a concise overview of the stds.(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:04:26 +0100)
@HANDIhealth We’ve ran over a little on time tonight..& still lots to talk about. Shall we decide on next weeks topic over the coming week? #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:05:28 +0100)
@hildegardfranke RT @ianmcnicoll : @griffglen #openEHR archetypes are maiximally modelled so usually a superset of HL7 content and transformable #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:06:35 +0100)
@griffglen @hildegardfranke @ianmcnicoll #handihealth thks- my last tweet should have said operable rather than interoperable(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:08:58 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll @mrcthompson #handihealth ‘concise’ guide to ehelth stds might be tricky!! but I will give it a go. So many to choose from :-)(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:09:46 +0100)
@hildegardfranke RT @ianmcnicoll : @HANDIhealth I think leave choice of topic unless anyone has a good suggestion now #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:11:22 +0100)
@HANDIhealth OK, we can tweet for suggestions during the week… in the meantime, thanks everyone for taking part! #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:14:16 +0100)
@robdykedotcom @mrcthompson I don’t have a cartoon for ‘a concise view of stds’ #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:14:23 +0100)
@mrcthompson @robdykedotcom OK that can be my job – I’ll have a think ūüėČ #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:14:53 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll @robdykedotcom @mrcthompson Sadly I probably do ūüė¶ #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:15:08 +0100)
@hildegardfranke #handihealth ciao everyone(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:15:08 +0100)
@ianmcnicoll #handihealth Bye all, Thanks Chris(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:15:48 +0100)
@mrcthompson Goodnight all. Thanks. #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:16:57 +0100)
@HANDIhealth RT @ianmcnicoll : Hl7 community agreed that v3 is complex & nt working latest thing – #FHIR like archetypes #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:20:27 +0100)
@griffglen @HANDIhealth @ianmcnicoll #handihealth interesting site – an ad hoc harley award sounds like it might be worth having(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:29:00 +0100)
@curtomil RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth Managing clinical content stds as small, agile, rapidly iterated components (like apps) is the best approach. ‘Archetypes'(Thu, 07 Jun 2012 22:31:36 +0100)
@mrcthompson Looking for geeks who love the NHS #nhshd #handihealth (Thu, 07 Jun 2012 23:09:12 +0100)
@ppazos RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth Traditionally #openEHR competes w HL7v3 and 13606 but times are changing as v3 not delivering as hoped (Fri, 08 Jun 2012 07:27:15 +0100)
@claireOT Next up, the #handihealth guys, Tweetchats thurs 8-9pm, great people doing great stuff @HANDIhealth @WoodcoteEwan @robdykedotcom (Fri, 08 Jun 2012 08:24:13 +0100)
@carlplant RT @HANDIhealth : To help someone stay independent longer #rallyroundme looks interesting #handihealth #careapps #digihealthcon #nhshd (Fri, 08 Jun 2012 08:43:44 +0100)
@skoba RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth Hl7 community agreed that v3 is complex and not working – latest have thing is #FHIR more like archetypes(Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:41:10 +0100)
@skoba with openness. RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth #openEHR has cracked this problem of distributed content stds development, using web tools(Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:43:05 +0100)
@twhicher RT @ianmcnicoll : #handihealth Managing clinical content stds as small, agile, rapidly iterated components (like apps) is the best approach. ‘Archetypes'(Fri, 08 Jun 2012 15:22:09 +0100)

Sarah Bodell and Angela Hook are occupational therapy educators at the University of Salford.

Sarah Bodell Sarah Bodell

Angela Hook Angela Hook

Sarah’s speciality interests include:

  • E-learning, programme development,
  • online identity for health care professionals,
  • Development and research into using Second Life for virtual practice and education of healthcare
  • online activity and CPD.

Sarah and Angela have a recent article published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (June 2009), pp. 279-281

Creating a learning community in today’s world: how blogging can facilitate continuing professional development and international learning


Sarah’s role at Salford includes acting as the Professional Lead for the Directorate, and the Admissions Tutor.¬†Sarah and Angela share the role at Salford as the Joint Programme Leaders for the MSc in Advanced Occupational Therapy.

Angela’s speciality interests include:

  • E-learning and using web 2.0 applications for professional development and networking,
  • Social networking tools for professional development

She is also currently engaged in research

  • With a local Trust on the stories people tell: receiving healthcare as a service user
  • Development and research into using Second Life for virtual practice and education of healthcare
  • Online social networking for professional development

Angela’s role at Salford includes¬†teaching and facilitating learning on both undergraduate and post graduate programmes as a Senior Lecturer.

Sarah and Angela are also partners at Yo-Yo Consultancies, offering clients the benefit of a combined total of 42 years within the profession of occupational therapy. In addition they have extensive skills in project management, professional networking, programme design and elearning.

Sarah and Angela are founder members of OT4OT, a group of international occupational therapists in Higher Education who are committed to using the power of the online technology for knowledge sharing.

Angela, along with the OT4OT Team, has opened up new ways of working for Occupational Therapists who wish to engage with online technology. By co-founding this international professional development group, she has ensured a continuing source of high quality professional development resources for worldwide OTs. Thank you- Claire Jones

Abhay Adhikari (familiar to those of us on Twitter as @gopaldass) is confirmed as a workshop leader for the Digital Health Conference, where he will be able to share with us his learning journey about digital identity.

Abhay AdhikariAbhay Adhikari

Abhay is multimedia designer and social media strategist with a research background in education ICT. He setup Dhyaan Design in 2003 and has since worked on a range of global web-based projects with private, public and voluntary sector organizations. Abhay delivers social media training to HE, FE and creative practitioners, as Digital Footprints. He also lectures on themes such as digital audiences and enterprise development.

Do take a moment to watch Abhay deliver a TedX talk about Digital Identity

Abhay has written several pieces for the Guardian around the theme of digital identity- for charities who wish to use social media for campaigning, how schools can use Social Media (avoiding common pitfalls), and building digital literacy in higher education students.

It’s going to be very exciting to hear how we can use our digital identities to enhance our health outcomes!

Places for workshops are strictly limited, so please watch out for the email headed your way soon where you will be invited to make your choices ahead of attendance at the Digital Health Conference

Patient Opinion is a fantastic website where we can leave our opinions about the care we have received. Please watch this short video to learn more about Patient Opinion.

The site enables us to leave positive comments (in fact, most of the comments on the site are positive), so we can learn about the things that matter to patients when selecting a service. People can also leave their concerns and complaints.¬†Less formal than a “formal complaint”, leaving comments here invites the health organisation to state how the information has been used by the organisation to look at how they deliver services and if they have made changes as a result of the information shared.

The site was recently highlighted in the new Department of Health Information Strategy as an example of best practice in showing how we can make a health choices based on quality information about services by other patients.

I’m delighted to confirm that Patient Opinion will be running a workshop at the Digital Health Conference, where we will be able to learn some great tips about using social media to engage with services in our role as patients, and how services can gather valuable feedback and¬†ensure they are responsive to¬†the patient experience. Places for each workshop will be strictly limited, so watch out for an email listing the choices to make heading your way soon.

This short video shows how Patient Opinion can be used by Mental Health Services to ensure service user involvement and to respond to any concerns raised in order to improve services..

It is my pleasure to announce Anne Cooper, the National Clinical Lead for Nursing, Informatics Directorate, Department of Health as our keynote speaker at the Digital Health Conference on 29th June in Leeds.

 Anne Cooper

Information Strategy

Anne will be discussing the recently launched new Information Strategy by the Department of Health. This is essential market information for anyone engaged in delivering health and social care services, as well as for people receiving those services, as it sets out the direction of travel for the use of clinical information throughout the healthcare system in England and Wales.

At the Digital Health Conference

Anne will deliver her talk, after which we will have the opportunity to discuss what she has said with each other, then ask her any questions we may have about how this news impacts on us as patients, carers, health professionals, or suppliers of services to healthcare.

Anne Cooper

Anne has extensive experience in the clinical informatics area, including previous jobs as

Anne is a real advocate that people engaged in health care can realise the benefits of using technology- always with delivering the best care as the goal.

As part of her NCL role at Connecting for Health, Anne has recently been engaged in developing leadership capacity for people working in Nursing and Allied Health Professional roles within the health industry, to ensure that clinical utility remains at the forefront of any plans made by health organisations to implement new technologies.


Bob Gann, Head of Strategy & Engagement, NHS Choices, Department of Health

Anne brought a very welcome perspective to our work at NHS Choices – sharply clinically focused and with a passion for the real needs of patients and the NHS. In big national programmes there is always a danger of an ivory tower mentality, and Anne always brings us down to earth by being challenging when needed and keeping us focused on real priorities.‚Ä̬†January 31, 2012

George Davies, Director of Clinical Safety, CSC

Anne is a value driven professional with an exceptionally sharp mind. She is clear in her dealings with colleagues and suppliers and is able to translate complex ideas into concepts that professionals at all levels of an organisation can understand…She can apply herself to a range of areas of expertise…She knows what her community needs and is single minded, but fair, in achieving those objectives.‚Ä̬†January 30, 2012

Planning for the Digital Health Conference has continued, and Im pleased to announce the final running order of the day which I will be blogging throughout this week. I will be profiling each of our contributors over the coming weeks, so stay posted for all the details. Some of our speakers will be guest blogging about their interest in this field, and I would like to extend the invitation to everybody interested in this event- if you would like to blog for us about what you hope to learn, and what you hope to gain from and contribute to the conference, just email us at

Firstly, attending the Conference is going to be a very active process. There are a few short talks, but the learning is going to be very participatory and you will all be adding value to our collective experience of the day by getting involved in whatever way you feel comfortable. Balancing this, we have also secured plenty of break-out space that will be available throughout the event. This is to ensure that there will be plenty of places to go and continue any conversations you strike up with the fascinating people at the Conference, and also if you just want some time out with your own thoughts and ideas. Were going to have lots of tea, coffee, snacks, and a buffet lunch provided, so all you need to bring is yourself and any devices you would like to use throughout the event.

We would like to encourage you to add to the learning resources we will be sharing by live-blogging, Tweeting, making short vox pop video etc as the day progresses. There will be opportunity to do this at the event, and you are, of course, welcome to use whatever techniques you like to record and amplify your own questions and thoughts. We will make every effort to engage with the conversations online during and after the event. Were using the hashtags digihealthcon (and digihealthhack) as the overviews of the events and we will be using specific hashtags to collate Tweets related to the different workstreams of the event, e.g. digihealthcon1, digihealthcon2 etc.

We are hoping to build the networks of people engaged in the work around developing digital innovations in healthcare, wherever you work, whatever your role in the health system. All your contributions will be valued. As ever, if you feel there is more we could do to facilitate broader access to the event, do let us know so that we can make any further arrangements. Look forward to seeing you there!

As you know, it’s my intention to share with you the highs and lows of arranging this innovative event in Leeds on 29th and 30th June. So, in the interests of transparency, I want to share an update about my concerns for access for people with impairments to the #digihealthcon.

Hearing Impairment

People with hearing impairment may be able to hear some of what is said, but it is often not easy for them to follow speech in large rooms, or from a distance, or with distractions. Following conversations in groups can also cause issues.

Deaf Culture

Some people with hearing impairment identify as Deaf, and the Deaf community is somewhat unique in communities of people with disabilities in that some of its members regard themselves as members of a sub-culture rather than a community of people with disabilities. I certainly can see how as members of a group with a defined culture, language, and conventions, it doesn’t fit easily with our usual expectations of groups associated with particular disabilities.

Access for Deaf people and people with hearing impairment

As a gathering of people with an interest in health and social care and in technology, it seems reaasonable to assume that some of the people interested in #digihealthcon may have hearing impairments or identify as Deaf. As the organiser, it is my job to ensure that their access needs are catered for. So, what access needs are necessary for Deaf people/ people with hearing impairments?

CoHearent Vision

Leeds always seems to have an answer to any issue, and I remembered a group that used to be called the Leeds Deaf Blind Society. I am glad to report that they have changed their name to the much more modern and less stigmatising CoHearentVision, and offer a range of services and advice for people with hearing or sight impairments.

Please see their website here:

On the phone, I was able to ask a series of questions to understand the needs of these groups, and hopefully ensure this event is fully accessible for them.

  1. Do people with hearing impairments need BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters?
    1. People who are Deaf often learn BSL from a young age and are able to participate in events where a BSL interpreter is made available.
    2. People who develop hearing impairments later in life may choose not to learn BSL, and may rely on aids and adaptations to make good use of the remaining hearing they have. These people may not benefit from provision of a BSL interpreter.
  2. What other ways to meet the needs of people with hearing impairments should be considered in order to make sure an event is accessible?
    1. People with hearing impairments often make use of a Hearing Loop at events like the one you’re planning. It’s important that this is set up ahead of time- check with your venue that the rooms used have this facility.
  3. Do you think there are specific needs of Deaf people and people with hearing impairment that are important to consider when we’re thinking about health and social care services?
    1. Access to services is always a concern for people who are Deaf or have hearing impairment. There may also be issues with participation and involvement if decisions are made concerning these groups if they are not able to engage in discussions on equal terms with the other members.

So, I was fortunate enough to be able to get a quote for the provision of BSL interpreters for the event- two interpreters are required for events that last longer than 2 hours, as it is important that each interpreter has rest time built in. So, for our event, the quote relates to two interpreters for two days.

I was also fortunate enough to get some great advice from people on Twitter, who chipped in with their suggesstions of how to ensure an accessible event.

As is often the case, it soon became clear that some of the reasonable adjustments required meant that the attendance of other people with hidden disabilities such as anxiety and autism were also facilitated by putting into practice some of these ideas.

I have checked with the venue. The main room where we will spend the morning of Day 1 has Hearing Loop installed. Not all the rooms where we were planning to hold the workshops have Hearing Loops, but we have given them enough notice so that there is time to re-book rooms that have got Hearing Loops installed (they may be on another floor of the venue).

We have already built into the plan enough breakout space for people who need more quiet to have conversations, or who just want a bit of a break. The disability services manager is now available to me if I should want to check for any other accessibility arrangements- so that should make it easier the next time I want to check if particular groups or people can access the event.

It looks as if they don’t have the necessary software for Speech-to-Text available and suggested that they would attempt to use note-takers as a reasonable adjustment if required. I believe that we will have enough back-channel through Tweeting that we should be able to use a Twitterfall to address this need without adding complexity to the arrangements, so this is my plan unless I have a specific request to do different.

Unfortunately, I had not made account of these needs within the budgets I developed for the event. Hiring two BSL interpreters for two days is going to be quite expensive, so I plan to do this only if I hear from people who wish to attend who request it- or if I manage to crowd-source some funding or sponsorship for this. Do please let me know in the comments if you have ideas for tech companies specialising in kit for people with hearing impairments who might like to sponsor this!

Lesson learned- next time, I hope that I will consider access requirements a little bit sooner when working out my costings!