Reporter 418, 6 April 1998

The web can be good for your health

The World Wide Web is to become an important method of communication between health professionals and the wider community, thanks to Government backing. A Virtual National Institute of Health Informatics is to be created to link six regional centres to promote greater sharing of information, resources and expertise across the health service, academia and the commercial sector. It will be the first of its kind in the world.

The University of Leeds has joined a consortium with other universities, NHS trusts, local authorities and businesses which has been selected for inclusion in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Foresight programme. One of Foresight’s aims is to exploit British expertise in computing in healthcare for public and commercial benefit.

The Yorkshire Institute of Clinical and Health Informatics will be at the forefront of developing the Web for medical information exchanges among doctors, schools and the public. The aim is to give a focus for research and the spreading of information among health professionals and the community.

This concept, endorsed by Science Minister John Battle on his visit to the Institute of Pathology last year, will build on the Leeds Healthcare Network and the Yorkshire Metropolitan Area Networks which already link local medical researchers and NHS Trusts.

Several commercial partners have been identified.

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