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HC2008 will focus on information strategy for NHS

"Information saves lives. Information professionals need to step forward and play their part in creating an NHS that is founded on quality, evidence and empowerment" said Matthew Swindells, acting CIO for health at the Department of Health, when asked to comment on his involvement in the upcoming BCS HC2008 conference.

The future strategy for information within the NHS will be the theme of his keynote speech at this year's HC conference, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

This year's event comprises 10 mini conferences, with delegates able to take in a whole conference stream, or mix and match sessions according to their interests. The opening session will feature Matthew Swindells and Rachel Burnett, president of the BCS. Matthew's presentation will focus, in particular, on IT's role in supporting and catalysing the changes that will be described in lord Darzi's Next Stage Review.

Some 60 years ago, the NHS was created to ensure equal access to healthcare across the UK. In the year of its historic anniversary, the focus of the government has shifted from providing healthcare to the masses to improving the clinical experience of the individual. This year, the HC conference, as ever committed to exploring how cutting-edge technology can be used to best deliver care, picks out this theme over the three day event, which takes place from 21 to 23 April.

Stephen Kay, chairman of the HC 2008 Programme Committee, said, "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. 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 to deliver them - information is the lifeblood of an integrated service."

Day one of the conference will focus on implementing national programmes, understanding current priorities and future challenges, making innovative technologies work and building capability in people and services.

Day two will also further explore the implementation of national programmes - including the perspective of Wales, Scotland and the US - as well as supporting access, disability and diversity and understanding healthcare.

Day three takes understanding healthcare, delivery of care across sectors, managing risk and supporting research as its overarching themes. In particular, it will focus on the role of general practice in delivering clinical care.

The conference sessions, organised by BCS Health Informatics Forum, will, as usual, be accompanied by an exhibition, run by the British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management.

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