UCL NXI and EMIS: helping healthcare professionals access vital patient information
UCL Computer Science students worked with EMIS for three months during their summer break. Their projects delivered improvements to the software and consequently, the service for the NHS.
EMIS Health is the leading provider of clinical IT systems, managing electronic medical records for over 40 million patients in the UK. 80% of NHS acute trusts rely on its services, and there are 60,000 users in GP practices.
In the summer of 2020, EMIS hired six UCL Computer Science students. The students took on paid placements as part of the UCL Next-Step Experience Internship programme (UCL NXI). UCL NXI provides industry, the NHS and charities with talented computer scientists to work on innovative projects outside of term time.
These students had already gained work experience during their course. UCL Computer Science uses the Industry Exchange Network (IXN) teaching methodology, founded at UCL in 2011. In the IXN programme, students collaborate with external organisations to solve real world problems. They do this alongside their taught modules.
The interns joined the analytics team at EMIS. This team uses data to improve the effectiveness and delivery of healthcare. This can mean predicting operational issues, such as the probability a patient will miss an appointment. The data can also identify medical needs, such as determining who should receive targeted preventative treatment. Their work has informed which individuals should receive the COVID-19 vaccine first, for example.
The students worked on a variety of projects, including developing a user management tool. They also built functionality to test the analytics system, which has meant that EMIS can release updates more quickly and securely.
EMIS was delighted by the calibre of the interns. It wasn't just the quality of their code that impressed; EMIS was bowled over by their ability to slot into a corporate setting. The students were technically gifted but could also operate effectively in a team and develop solutions that suited the business. They brought a novel way of thinking, a passion and a pace which also benefitted the rest of the team. In fact, the full-time employees gained as much from the internships as the students.
With UCL NXI, EMIS liked that they could help to tackle the UK’s analytics skills shortage and build a recruitment pipeline. The company said it would be thrilled to have all the interns back for future paid placements. The HR department remains in touch with them and has already made a full-time job offer to one student for when he graduates.
“We were delighted by the attitude and innovative spirit that the UCL students brought. They quickly integrated into the team, and their work has provided us with lasting value. We're looking forward to having them return so that they can contribute further
Richard Jarvis, Chief Analytics Officer at EMIS
To find out more about partnering with UCL IXN and the associated UCL NXI internships, contact UCL Computer Science's Strategic Alliances Team