Earlier this week, Highland Marketing attended the annual Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology Expo, which ran alongside Commissioning in Healthcare at Olympia, London. This year’s exhibition was the largest to date and with such a wide range of suppliers and an impressive line-up of speakers under one roof, I had hoped it would be an interesting event. It did not disappoint.

On arrival, I was surprised by the atmosphere. The exhibition hall was quite literally buzzing by 9am! The first thing that I noticed was how compact the venue felt, other healthcare IT shows often boast huge exhibition halls and even measure their success on how much floor space they can sell to suppliers. The intimate Olympia venue meant that not only did I make it home without aching feet but there was a real sense of engagement between suppliers and delegates.

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By the time Kingsley Manning, chair of Health and Social Care Information Centre gave his opening address, the main conference was packed with delegates. Those who did not manage to get a seat took to standing at the back of the room.  There were also a few dozen people listening from outside the conference, a scene that was repeatedly seen throughout the duration of the conference.

First up after the opening speech was national director for patients and information for NHS England, Tim Kelsey. His main focus for his presentation was the digital revolution in the NHS – giving patients and carers more control of care and online access to patient records by 2015. Throughout his speech Kelsey reiterated to delegates that a combination of transparency and participation is key to sustainable healthcare and confidently stated: “We will hit our 2015 objective for providing access to GP records.” Kelsey’s speech was believable and passionate and set the scene in the exhibition hall that a paperless NHS is achievable with the help of the right IT solutions.

Less well received was a presentation from junior health minister, Dr Dan Poulter. Poulter, who at the last minute replaced health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, arrived late and gave a less inspiring speech which was read from cue cards. The audience took to Twitter to show their disapproval, one tweet from HSJ’s James Illman summed up the general consensus – “Poulter finishes without taking questions having said nothing new….”

After spending some time listening to other interesting presentations from Dame Fiona Caldicott and president of Harris Healthcare Solutions, Dr Vishal Agrawal, I took to the exhibition floor to network with the suppliers, all whom were equally impressed with the turnout, the range of NHS delegates and the atmosphere of the hall.

This year HETT was attended by 2,345 attendees, 90 exhibitors and 46 speakers. Commissioning in Healthcare was attended by 1,452 delegates, 35 speakers and 30 exhibitors. So what made the show work so well? Was it because it was in a relatively central London location with parking, that it was a one-day event or that the speakers were of a particularly high calibre? Or has healthcare IT finally made its way up the NHS agenda, with one more big healthcare IT show in the diary before the year is out? The success of next month’s EHI Live may have the answer.

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Joanne Murray

Originally Joanne joined Highland Marketing as an office manager, Joanne quickly showed a keen interest in all things marketing and a promotion to account executive followed soon after.

Amongst Joanne’s strengths are a flair for website design, a good eye for detail on documents and reports, and is a natural at directing the work of several diverse skill sets such as designers, copywriters and web developers. In the PR arena, Joanne is passionate about obtaining the best coverage for clients which she has done by developing strong relationships with journalists in healthcare.

Joanne is a team player and often attends industry events to support other members of the Highland Marketing team, in addition to tweeting for clients, arranging interviews with journalists or delivering creative ideas into campaigns or projects. Furthermore, Joanne is responsible for monitoring the healthcare marketplace, pulling together the top stories for the Highland Marketing Healthcare Roundup, read by professionals throughout the industry.
“During my time at Highland Marketing I have begun to realise how fast the healthcare industry is moving, and continually changing. This has inspired me to continue learning on a daily basis about what’s going on in the industry to be able to provide our clients with up to date relevant information. I am very much looking forward to watching the NHS improve and grow.”
A little about Joanne…
  • Joanne has a huge passion for animals and is regularly seen being walked by her GIANT German Shepherd, Bruno. In her spare time Joanne provides grooming services to local dogs.
  • Music is another love of Joanne’s; on a daily basis she can be heard in the office saying... ‘I love this song’, much to the annoyance of her colleagues!
  • In her past life Joanne trained national hunt horses. Whilst studying horse management Joanne won the award for ‘best student in equitation’ and still enjoys riding out on friends horses.

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