About the material - How the Health informatics material came about

It all started sometime in the late 1980’s when I was working as a staff nurse on a renal dialysis unit and I decided to learn how to write database queries for the computer system. Then as luck would have it by 1991 I was doing a full time MSc in software engineering. This resulted in two other students and myself setting up a business (Beaumont Colson) focusing on software development in the NHS, and what was then, the Criminal justice system. Yet another lucky coincidence meant that we had the opportunity to develop the first Windows based NHS computer simulation program for the Northern Regional Health Authority, then after a couple of years I realized that an academic environment would be more suited to my temperament and I became a lecturer in Health informatics at The University of Newcastle (Medical School), setting up a part time course for Specialist Registrars and also a module for the MBA at Durham university which was specifically aimed at NHS managers.     By the middle of the 1990’s I realized that I loved teaching and hated research so decided to leave the university and work as a freelance health informatics teacher. At this time I also started to share my teaching materials on this new thing called the World Wide Web.

Once again a curious coincidence happened and I was contacted in 1999 by Professor Angus Wallace from the Royal College of surgeons of Edinburgh who had stumbled across my material and asked if the RCSED would work with me in developing a very practical course in health Informatics for surgeons which could be delivered partly over the web.  Angus’s charismatic style and various other peoples enthusiasm meant that after a few years the RCSED were running a MSc in Health Informatics jointly with the University of Bath (transferred in 2009 to the University of Edinburgh).

picThroughout all this time I have maintained that all the teaching material, which I am luckily paid for developing, be made freely available via the web and the RCSEd have always very kindly agreed to this.  It is such a shame that this is in direct contrast to many universities who possibly feel that the learning experience is simply reading through masses of notes and writing essays. This misguided belief that by providing the teaching material they are providing the learning experience is not the case as my teaching material quickly demonstrates, the actual course is very interactive and people pay for my, and the other tutors, teaching skills along with the accreditation, the written material just supports this.

The power of using video in teaching health statistics

I have always had an interest in Heath/medical statistics and at one point started an OU degree focusing on this topic, which like most things you only begin to understand when you start to teach it, of which I have had ample opportunity over the years. Significantly during 2011 I’ve discovered that the use of videos for teaching statistics cannot be over stated for both the basic use of specialist software and demonstrating how one goes about analyzing data.  My 2011 youtube statistics (screenshot below) bears this out. Out of my top 6 videos 5 of them are concerning medical/health statistics, this is despite the fact that they are more recent than the ones concerning systems development/evaluation.  Also they have become more popular as time has gone on so one may well ask, does this mean that health statistics along with Health Informatics is going to be a sexy subject at last!



Use of Material

Anyone can use the material on this site with one proviso, they send me an e-mail to let me know. This is because I keep records of its use (see here) and try to encourage those using it to provide feedback.


Help and additionals

I would be most keen to hear from anyone who wishes to develop the material or add to it, in any way possible.


Please feel free to contact me via e-mail: robin@organplayers.co.uk