The announcement by President Obama of $144 million dollars to improve the teaching on the electronic healthcare record at US universities, highlights the importance now attached to this area. The Obama plan focuses both generally on strengthening university departments in the healthcare informatics field, but also on specific development of new teaching materials.
The extreme challenges in achieving interoperability in capture, storage and retrieval of patient clinical information as demonstrated in recent years in the NHS, underlines the importance for every healthcare informatics graduate going into the NHS or its suppliers of having the best possible skills in this area.
The outreach initiative, described on this page, is possibly unique in involving every UK university with degree-awarded health informatics working together with HL7 UK, a professional healthcare informaticians group, to better inform students on one aspect of healthcare informatics - semantic interoperability. Now, in it's third year, the outreach initiative introduces, into every university syllabus, practical material on use of standards - particularly the HL7 set of standards - in improving interoperability in exchange of patient clinical information between independent systems and patient record structures.
A "faculty" group has been formed comprising of healthcare informaticians, lecturers in health informatics and also the Education lead in the Department of Health's Informatics Directorate Technology Office: Data Standards and Products.
A further possibly unique aspect of the collaboration is that the modes of delivery and integration of materials actively follow the rich diversity of how today's university department addresses its students.
The outreach programme has four main modes of delivery:
A. Faculty delivered: Workshop and presentation materials completely delivered by a visiting informatician within the outreach programme
B. Mixed Faculty/host lecturer delivered: This year we plan a new workshop session designed for joint delivery
C. Augmenting of host lecturer's content/materials: This mode is appropriate where students are working in the NHS or industry but attend university often enough for the course to be run in a hybrid mode with both delivered material, but also lots of reference material
D. Full distance learning integration: here joint projects are in place to work alongside the university's professional course ware developers to introduce new materials into fully accredited distance learning modules
The programme has continually evolved and developed over the course of the academic year and can now be seen as a combination of three major elements:-
Each of these three are explored in more detail below.
A strong faculty group
The faculty group provides a widely-based group to take forward the Outreach Programme. Faculty members develop and present outreach sessions. The five people who currently comprise the faculty group are a combination of HL7 UK members, outreach developers and university healthcare informatics lecturers:-
To support the faculty group there is an HL7 UK wiki specifically for the group containing a wide mixture of information and materials to support university outreach work.
Faculty conference calls are focused around specific tranches of work and serve as a useful method to collaborate and comment on developments.
Presentation materials, tutor notes, workshop materials
There is a growing and wide ranging set of materials within the Outreach Programme which go well beyond the presentation slide decks originally envisaged.
Integrating with university, course lecturer objectives
Last modified 09/11/11