An opportunity to vote for Eduroam in the NHS

The Department of Health is currently developing it’s Interoperability Toolkit (IKT). Following a call for suggestions of themes that should be added to the Toolkit they are now available to view and it’s great to see that one of the potential themes addded is to deliver secure, open access to the Internet at any NHS site.

The aim of this theme would be to

Provide “free” internet access for workers / visitors involved in academia / research, enabling access to relevant information sources to support users whilst on an NHS site (and vice versa).

and would support this scenario:

Whilst visiting an NHS Trust, an academic data consumer requires internet access to retrieve information concerning research and  education.  He is enrolled to eduroam at is home University and fortunately, the university he is visiting is also an eduroam site.  As a consequence, he has automatic access to the internet at the site he is visiting.  His access is authenticated through his home site.  It would be useful if similar access could be made available when visiting an NHS Trust.

Eduroam is  used across many academic sites internationally and this the proposal would be to extend Eduroam to include NHS Trusts.  The proposal has been supported by cases studies prepared by the NHS-HE Forum IT connectivity best practice working group, which I’m a member of.

The NHS are now inviting individuals to vote for the 5 themes they think will deliver the grestest benefits.  Voting is open until close of business on 27 February.  If you work in medical education or research in the NHS then you might want to vote for this as a priority.

NOTE – eduroam is towards the bottom of the list in Technology Enhancements described as “ Deliver secure, open access to the internet at any NHS site”

Starter for 10: What online tools & social media should be accessible in the NHS?

I’ve written previously about the problems of accessing elearning in the NHS and how this affects teaching and learning.  Back in November my colleague Andrew Howe and I gave a presentation to the NHS-HE Forum on accessing University teaching and learning from the NHS.  Our presentattion  gave an overview of some of the problems our clinical teachers and students face accessing University resources on their NHS PCs.  We also highlighted the frustrations concerning the inability

  • to access the growing amount of open learning content available  on sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and blogs and
  • to make use  of Web 2.0 and social media tools.

These sites, tools and technologies  make it easier for teachers to produce and remix online learning content.  They also offer many opportunities to support collaborative work, research and to share information with patients and colleagues. The reality, however, for those involved in teaching in the NHS and for our students on clinical placements is that access to many of these sites and tools are blocked by NHS firewalls. In some cases health boards have made them accessible but only to those clinical staff using them for research.

The outcome of our presentation and the following discussion at the November NHS-HE Forum meeting is that a short life working group has been set up to look at NHS-HE connectivity best practice.  The group includes IT managers, librarians, medical educators with responsibility for elearning and  we’ll be putting together our work plan when we meet later this week.

One of the things I’ve been tasked with doing is coming up with a starter for 10 list of tools/sites that should be accessible from the NHS.  I know the sorts of sites that my colleagues are keen to be able to access for example

  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • WordPress sites
  • Blogspot sites
  • Posterous
  • Social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo
  • Google docs
  • Slideshare
  • Ning
  • Twitter

I’m also interested to hear what the wider NHS community involved in teaching and research would like to access.  Which tools would you like to access that are currently blocked in your health board or trust and why would you like to have access them, what benefits would they bring to your work?