Headlines: July 10th, 2003

A new interactive online community has been developed for healthcare IT enthusiasts which will allow them to voice their opinions and keep up with the latest news. It has been developed by the NHS Information Authority as part of its commitment to support health informatics as a key profession throughout the NHS.The site is designed to have a positive benefit on clinical practice and patient care. The authority says www.informatics.nhs.uk is for anyone who has an active interest in health informatics, and will also serve as the National Electronic Library for Health newly revamped specialist library in health informatics.It will provide news and networking opportunities with users able to take part in polls and surveys on key informatics issues, and air their views by joining discussion on any item of news or a subject of choice. The site will also allow those who want to promote subjects or areas of activity do so by setting up their own special interest groups.

To encourage the sharing of good practice the site also has a library giving members access to key national and local documents. It also features its own learning resource centre where members can share their knowledge, resources and documents to help others. To keep members in touch with developments the site has pages dedicated to informatics events, and is host to the web pages of the Informatics Learning Network, a series of real networks across the country which provides over 3,000 clinicians and other healthcare staff with access to workshops and small learning groups. Events advertised by the learning network can be booked online.

Anyone wishing to take advantage of the new site can go to www.informatics.nhs.uk and click on register now. Dave Miller, the programme manager believes the site is the first to focus actively on user contributions to bring individuals together. It is hoped that this will lead to the creation of an invaluable group of people from whom the authority will be able to seek opinions on important issues.