What is clinical informatics?

The clinical informatics team apply a deep understanding of how things work on the shop floor in primary care to electronic healthcare analytics. The team appreciate how and why electronic healthcare data are entered during daily practice and how the same routinely collected clinical data can be used for analytics.

Entered as structured data, the same clinical, demographic, and prescription data offer tremendous opportunity for research and service evaluation. The team understand the story behind the structured data. Why was it entered? Who might have entered it? What might have been entered by mistake? What circumstances or settings might a clinical code have been entered to a greater or lesser extent? We enjoy discussion regarding edge-case codes for codelists, and debate the for and against collectively, with careful documentation of our decision making process to share with future users.

In short, we use our experience at the clinical coalface to develop the most meaningful insights that primary care EHR has to offer.

Who are we?

Outside of our Bennett Institute roles we all work in clinical roles across of a range of NHS sectors:

  • Richard Croker (Team Lead) is a medicines optimisation pharmacist working as Deputy Director of Medicines Optimisation at NHS Devon. He holds an MSc in Health Informatics from Swansea University.
  • Andrew Brown is a medicines optimisation pharmacist in the North East & North Cumbria ICB, holding MSc degrees in Psychology and Computer Science he enjoys bridging cross-discipline knowledge gaps.
  • Orla Macdonald is a specialist psychiatric pharmacist and an accredited member of the College of Mental Health Pharmacists. She is also the Lead Research Pharmacist at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Brian MacKenna is a pharmacist adviser and primary care medicines data lead at the NHS England, and the Bennett Institute’s Director of NHS Service Analytics. He also holds a Masters in Public Health from King’s College.
  • Vicky Speed is a specialist anticoagulation pharmacist (independent prescriber) working clinically in secondary care at King’s College Hospital, London. She is an active researcher in anticoagulation, and successfully defended her PhD in this area in 2022.
  • Chris Wood is a pharmacist independent prescriber working within general practice in London. He has a particular interest in antimicrobial prescribing having previously specialised within this area in secondary care.

What do we do?

The work of the Clinical Informatics Team reaches most aspects of The Bennett Institute including;

  • OpenPrescribing; We develop and update prescribing measures that are relevant to the 20k OpenPrescribing users that access our tool every month. We listen to feedback and keep our prescribing measures up to date and on point. We share insights from OpenPrescribing in journals and blog posts, and take time to support users with their queries and analyses.
  • OpenSAFELY; We support our NHS Service Analytics team to ensure NHS service analytic work is clinically accurate and delivers meaningful findings. Across the platform, we support analysts with interpretation of findings, drawing on our knowledge of clinical care on the NHS frontline.
  • Codelist development; We develop, review, and share codelists. We take pride in our decisions by documenting detailed metadata and share our codelists openly with others.
  • Clinical Informatics Team Projects; We conduct our own Clinical Informatics Team service evaluations. Our projects are of particular interest to our pharmacist colleagues working within medicines optimisation. Most recently: What was the impact of COVID-19 on shared care protocols? And what was the impact of COVID-19 on medication reviews?