The archives of my blog are gradually being republished on Medium for better readbility and shareability. You can still read older blogs here though.


  • Govroam, the NHS, and WiFi

    WiFi in the NHS has become a bit of a soap-box subject for me, as the advent of the Internet has seen almost all of the current and reliable information resources migrate from books and journals to online websites and webapps, which is great for learning and staying up-to-date - except when you’re deprived of an Internet connection!

  • Scraping Google Groups to Discourse

    Update 2016: I’ve since found a better way to do Google Group to Discourse migrations and have written an updated howto here:

  • NHS Staff WiFi - an overview

    I’ve collected together some information about my work over several years on WiFi in the NHS

  • Presentations via Chromecast

    I use the browser-based Reveal.js framework for all my presentations, so I recently started playing around with the idea of doing presentations via Chromecast, with some success.

  • Using Reveal.js for presentations, with a (mostly) offline git-based workflow, and free hosting

    Reveal.js

  • discoursehacking – adding Badges to Users, in bulk, in Discourse

    At the time of writing, there’s no Admin UI for granting badges in bulk in Discourse. So we have to do it the Old Navy Way, on the Rails console…

  • A Discourse Toolkit for the Rails Console #discoursehacking

    I’ve been working for Digital Health Networks (e-Health Media) for the past few months, migrating them from a Google Group which lacked some of the nicer social features we have become used to, to a new shiny Discourse forum.

  • How to work around EMIS Web’s locked Task modal window

    One of EMIS Web’s most annoying features is the frequent use of modal windows, which ‘lock’ the rest of EMIS in the background while they are open. If you type your referral letters as Tasks (as we do at my current practice) it can get pretty annoying, as you often want to see a different part of the patient’s record that the one currently visible, but the only way to change the view of the record would be to close the Task window – losing your work so far – then change the view, and then start your Task again.

  • September 2014 - 2nd National NHS WiFi Survey

    Following the 2013 WiFi Survey, I ran a repeat survey in 2014, to see if there had been any change in the provision of WiFi to clinical NHS staff in the intervening year.

  • Get the Apple MagicMouse ‘back’ feature with a Logitech M305 mouse and Ubuntu or Linux Mint

    I hated my MacBook when I tried one earlier this year. I gave it 6 months near enough, but I couldn’t get used to the erratic minimise’ behaviour of the Dock, the US keyboard layout, the bloody cost of any decent apps or accessories, and actually I was pretty disappointed by the standard of the built-in apps like Numbers. After that trial period I sold the MacBook, bought a Dell M3800 and learned just what fun it can be to try to install Linux on EFI bootloaders 😉

  • child health centiles… doing them in code part 1

    What is a centile? (because not all techies are /^math|maths/ geeks)

  • When is Open Source not Open Source?

    I had an interesting conversation at the NHS England Healthcare Innovation Expo on Monday and Tuesday of this week (3-4th March 2014) with a pathologist Fred Mayall who has done some excellent work enabling clinicians to develop small databases within their own trusts.

  • Here’s a handy cut’n’paste-able block to add when that NHS policy document needs to be just one meaningless paragraph longer….

    “The business requirements, risks and benefits have been developed in close cooperation with the partnering stakeholders to ensure that a top down approach was employed across all the organisations involved. This method provides all the partners with the confidence that a comprehensive solution is being developed within a controlled environment which reflects the needs, opportunities, concerns and risks of all involved”

  • Strangewiki

    I’m a big fan of clinical Wikis. They allow clinicians to take control of their own content and present it in the way that they need to see it at the point of care. They are not Intranets. Intranets tend to be out of date because there’s usually just one “Intranet Guy” in the IT dept and gradually updates fall behind. Once people see that the intranet is largely out of date, they start to ignore it, which means a) it gets even more out of date, and b) nobody looks at it anyway.

  • May 2013 - National NHS WiFi survey

    Following on from a discussion on NHS Hack Day email discussion group (link), there was a concern that clinicians and other healthcare staff had poor access to WiFi networks, even when such networks were already in place in an establishment (WiFi network access was in some places being reserved for managers/executive staff).

  • Jan-Aug 2013 – SNOMED-CT Expert Group of the Joint GP IT Committee (JGPITC)

    Jan-Aug 2013 – SNOMED-CT Expert Group of the Joint GP IT Committee (JGPITC) Member of this group on behalf of the RCGP Health Informatics Group (HIG). This group has been set up in 2013 to help the HSCIC develop plans for future migration of  GP clinical records from Read Codes V2 and Read V3 (CTV3) to SNOMED-CT – in a safe and seamless way.

  • July – Aug 2013 CTV3 to SNOMED-CT mapping tables clinical assurance

    July – Aug 2013 CTV3 to SNOMED-CT mapping tables clinical assurance Clinically reviewing the auto-matched CTV3 terms to endure the SNOMED-CT terms they were matched to were clinically safe and semantically equal.

  • Please Sir, can we have a Library?

    Knowledge resources that were hitherto provided in books and paper journals are increasingly being accessed using Internet based methods. New sources of knowledge such as UptoDate, Map Of Medicine, NHS CKS, MedicinesComplete, Toxbase, DermNet and many others provide information in ways that could not have existed before the Internet.  E-Learning, e-Portfolios and online communication between peers are vital to the flows of information we need to provide good care. Healthcare apps have approached the level of maturity and safety where they have genuine clinical utility. All these new technologies depend upon Internet connectivity, and increasingly, on mobile devices using WiFi. More importantly, in order to secure the future development of even better technologies (like ubiquitous electronic decision support, or a comprehensive, ‘access-anywhere’ cradle-to-grave health record) we have to provide an environment in which these ideas can thrive.

  • May 2013 - National NHS WiFi survey

    Following on from a discussion on the NHS Hack Day email discussion group, there was a concern that clinicians and other healthcare staff had poor access to WiFi networks, even when such networks were already in place in an establishment (WiFi network access was in some places being at the time often reserved for managers/executive staff).

  • RCGP Patient Online

    As part of my work with the RCGP Health Informatics Group (HIG) I was heavily involved in developing the conceptual approach to the Royal College of GP’s “Patient Online” Roadmap document and wrote significant portions of the “Defining the Offering” section for which I was credited as a significant author in the document’s introduction.

  • An Internet Museum of General Practice Computing?

    In recent months I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people who have been in Health Informatics for several decades, some of whom wrote their own GP clinical systems ‘back in the day’, when GP computing was pushed forward by enthusiastic GPs who had an interest in computers, bought their own machine, and developed their own software. Some people have told me they think there were something like 200-300 different pieces of GP software of this type in the 80s. Over decades, these systems either gradually disappeared or fell into disuse, with a very few surviving to become parts of what is still in clinical use today, albeit unrecognisably. Programs like iSOFT’s Premiere Synergy package, which is no longer developed or maintained, will soon join this cadre of disused systems.

  • Local Referral Maps – Wigan & Leigh

    While working in the Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT/CCG area as a GP trainee in 2010, I developed an electronic repository of referral guidance and referral forms, pertinent to the local area.

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