Report on the meeting held on 24th July 1998

About 50 delegates attended the inaugural meeting of SIHI held at the Portland Building, University of Portsmouth on Friday 24th July.


The Southern Institute of Health Informatics is bidding to be recognised as a regional focal institute of the UK Virtual Institute of Health Informatics (UK-VIHI).

The UK-VIHI is to be launched in September at a ceremony at the Department of Trade & Industry. Its format and mission are still to be finalised, but it will take a role as a nationally recognised organisation representing all the UK's stakeholders in health informatics. It is envisaged that it will be in a position to lobby government, the NHS and large organisations to invest in the development and implementation of IT that improves the care offered to patients.

Nine regional focal institutes of the VNIHI have already been formed, but the University of Portsmouth, together with Hastings & Rother NHS Trust, have been invited to put in an application to be a tenth regional focal institute covering the south coast of England. At the moment, that application is in the final stages of preparation. The bid currently includes approximately 40 organisations including universities, NHS trusts and health authorities, and many companies, large and small.


The meeting was chaired by Dr Jim Briggs (University of Portsmouth) who welcomed those present and passed on apologies from Martin Severs who had been called away, and Tony Norris who was unable to attend due to illness.

The keynote speakers were:


Jim Briggs presented A proposal for the structure of SIHI and chaired a wide ranging discussion on it.

It was agreed that the Steering Committee should look at the issue of intellectual property rights and produce guidelines for partners. However, it was likely that it would normally be for the partners in any collaborative activity to decide the IPR for their project.

It was noted that, increasingly, external grant funding is often awarded where matched funding is provided.

Dr Briggs assured delegates that SIHI did not intend to restrict collaboration and that partners would be free to collaborate with organisations both inside and outside SIHI, the UK VIHI and internationally.

In response to a question from Mr Bywater, Mrs Lewis did not think it likely that there would be sufficient time for SIHI to be approved by the UK VIHI before the official launch in September. This is a matter of concern.

Delegates were reminded of the new MSc courses in Health Information Systems and Health Information Management at the University of Portsmouth, beginning this September. These will go some way to fulfilling the education and training needs of healthcare organisations within the region.

Support was given for the establishment of a SIHI website and the organisation of a health informatics conference at either Christmas or Easter.

The following people have volunteered to serve on the Steering Committee:

Prof. Martin Severs

University of Portsmouth

Dr Jim Briggs

University of Portsmouth

Dr Tony Norris

University of Portsmouth

Dr Brian Higginson

Wellington Square Medical Centre

Mr Jeremy Nettle

Salisbury Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr Jenifer Smith

South and West Cancer Intelligence Unit

Dr Dick Curry

CMW Associates

Mr Murray Bywater

Silicon Bridge Research Ltd

Mr John O'Dea

Advanced Outreach Systems Ltd

Prof. Michael Ward

University of Southampton

Dr Robert Istepanian

University of Portsmouth


JSB 5/8/1998