Health Links

March 28th, 2006

I’ve been working on several healthcare realted projects recently and the amount of information freely available online has consistently surprised me. Here are some interesting sources:

  • First, if you don’t know anything about the structure of the NHS – what an NHS trust is, what different kinds of trust there are – the NHS site has a good primer. This was essential to me when I started on these projects, and I believe there’s a widespread ignorance of how the NHS works.
  • The NHS and independent ‘private’ healthcare is overseen by the Healthcare Commission, who act as an independent ombudsman for the whole industry. They inspect every trust annually against a vast number of standards, then publish the results on their Performance ratings website. You can find very specific information, but you should be prepared to hunt, and you need to know the terminology – it’s very much aimed at healthcare professionals. I’m re-architecting this site at the moment to hopefully address these issues.
  • Dr. Foster is a private company which also publishes detailed information about healthcare performance, even down to how specific consultants perform. It’s aimed at the public, too, and is altogether one of the better websites I’ve come across recently. While you’re there, why not try their personal health profile, although I don’t find their graphs and risks particularly easy to interpret.
  • The NHS have their own front-end into the performance ratings, too
  • NICE are the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. They publish ‘guidance’ on drugs, new techniques, and technologies which healthcare professionals are supposed (legally mandated) to follow. This is interesting if you’re undergoing a treatment that you suspect might not be correct, as you can check out the guidance for the treatment, and make sure your consultant is doing everything properly. Good luck finding what you’re after though, because although I’ve recently completed a re-architect this site, too, the existing version is clearly focused on the healthcare professional and is, frankly, a bit of a maze to navigate.
  • Slightly unrelated but interesting anyway, the MSN life expectancy calculator. I clock in at 88 years with a greatest negative factor of ‘gender’, which seems a bit unfair.

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