Wednesday 5 March 2014

Share, listen, act: Reaction to Public Health England’s NHS Health Check conference, 2014 ~ Part 1

Part 1:

This year’s NHS Health Check conference was the largest to date, with hundreds of delegates from across England and Wales coming together to share best practice. 

Taking place at London’s Kennington Oval cricket ground (right), the invited audience was comprised of individuals currently designing the future of this country’s preventive health and lifestyle services.

Amongst the range of speakers asked to present their expertise was Health Diagnostics’ MD, Julie Evason, who after 30 years in the health check business, was ‘‘very pleased to be able share the accumulated learning!’’

Commercial providers role in the NHS Health Check programme: featuring Julie Evason as a panel member

Julie took to the panel after lunch alongside Public Health England’s (PHE) Director of Health and Wellbeing, Professor Kevin Fenton, and a number of other commercial providers from the likes of Boots and Asda. 

Taking the opportunity to discuss some of the pressing issues facing those coordinating health check programmes, Julie outlined Health Diagnostics’ approach to developing answers to the most commonly-voiced problems. Emphasising a particular interest in IT, she stated that Health Diagnostics ‘‘strive to create simple solutions to what can often appear to be overly complex scenarios.’’

The importance of partnering with organisations in order to be able to generate swift resolutions to local authority (LA) issues was a key feature of the speech. As Julie stressed, ‘‘Health Checks are here now. The solutions are required now.’’ Giving an example of precisely what's required, Julie informed the audience:

‘‘Health Diagnostics partner with a number of like-minded specialist companies who can see the strength in working together and they have helped fast track the development of our range of IT solutions which now include modules for cohort identification (that all elusive call and recall) and the ability to return data to any GP clinical systems well within the expected 48 hours.’’ 

Moving from topics such as the available range of delivery mechanisms, to the financial advantages to using point of care equipment, this address covered significant ground in speaking directly to the concerns of the commissioners and programme leads present.

Reflecting on the discussion, Julie remarked that it ‘‘really feels like momentum is building for the NHS Health Checks and I’m very pleased that Health Diagnostics’ offer fits the bill so well. It was a pleasure to be invited onto the panel. It’s really refreshing to see that PHE recognise us as a quality provider in this arena.’’

Conference feedback from Health Diagnostics' delegates

Jen Sutherland, Systems Support and Account Manager

‘‘There was a real buzz about the place - a very pro-active and can-do feel. LAs that are currently using a spreadsheet to record the health check results were very impressed with Health Options® software for recording the information, receiving reports and also how patient focused it is. It really feels like we have an answer to a lot of the problems they’ve experienced.

A number of people commented on their existing software companies taking a long time to implement new changes, (e.g. dementia awareness and pulse palpation requirements). They were pleasantly surprised to learn that we listen carefully to customer feedback and respond quickly to new changes.’’

Julie Evason, Managing Director

‘‘The quality of the delegates was excellent. We had more focused discussions in that one event than at any other show going over two or three days. The fact that this year's event involved as many people as it did really stimulated discussion across all areas with lots of practical advice and tips being shared.

I was surprised by the misconception that much of the IT capability isn’t available when it is, however it’s great to know that we’re fulfilling the evolving requirements of the programme.

What seemed slightly strange was that so many LAs are spending months researching the requirements to put a tender in place. It would make a lot of sense if PHE could provide a template that could be tweaked locally.’’

Selina Donnelly, Training and Account Manager

''It was refreshing that everyone I spoke to was looking for a way to really drive the quality of the health check service.

Hearing that PHE are in favour of looking to alternative providers to GPs was very exciting. It’s great to have been closely involved in the research that’s helping to inform the debate.''

Keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3 of the Share, listen, act blog series, which will feature:

  • Part 2: A report on the National evaluation update by Health Diagnostics’ Systems and Data Manager, Michael Storry.
  • Part 3: A report on the The new guidelines for NHS Health Check information governance and data flows by Pete Roberts, Senior Solution Developer & Information Security Manager
 at Health Diagnostics.