UCL News


Map of Medicine to bring better health to people across southern England

23 November 2004

Up to 13 million people across the south of England could soon be enjoying better care from the NHS as a result of the introduction of the Map of Medicine, a software package that gives every clinician access to the NHS's bank of knowledge at the click of a button.

The Map has already been benefiting patients at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where it was financed and developed by UCL BioMedica, the wholly owned subsidiary of University College London (UCL) through its spin out Medic-to-Medic Limited which today announced that it has signed a multi-million pound contract with Fujitsu Services over nine years, to provide the Map across southern England, under the National Programme for IT, the NHS's 10-year upgrade of IT systems.

The Map, which was the brainchild of consultant physician Dr Owen Epstein and involved more than 300 doctors and nurses over four years, is based on over 300 different patient journeys. These clearly map out the steps to be taken by the clinician, starting with the initial contact with the patient. Content covers all major diagnostic areas including accident and emergency, internal medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology, oncology and palliative care.

"Imagine if every NHS clinician knew what all NHS clinicians know - the Map is the electronic 'glue' to bring local specialist knowledge together acting as a virtual desktop consultant for healthcare professionals to use when the patient's journey leads them into unfamiliar territory," said Dr Epstein.

"Our pilot study has demonstrated that GPs locally are using the Map to support their decision making, often after morning surgery. Further work in A & E has shown that the Map is resulting in improved decision-making both on admissions to hospital, and in the course of hospital treatment."

The Map is customisable to local clinical needs in the NHS or any healthcare organisation and is designed to integrate into every aspect of modern healthcare, from diagnosis through to education and training. The Map will also link to other knowledge services, the first of which is the National Library for Health, the NHS's central clinical information resource thereby delivering immediate access to relevant research.

"The Map is all about providing information that will enable better and more efficient treatment of patients," said Professor Mike Spyer, Vice Provost (BioMedicine) at UCL. "It's about letting NHS professionals know what they need to know when they need to know it. There is so much information out there, and the Map makes it possible for busy doctors to access that quickly, which is often vital when providing patient care.

"The Map will also be used to provide an unparalleled resource to our medical students, and give them better access to the information they need to become better doctors," added Professor Spyer.

"This collaboration is a great example of a university working in partnership with the NHS for the good of all, and we very much hope that the Map will eventually be taken up and used beyond southern England, and in the longer term be made available beyond the UK," said Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCL BioMedica.

Notes for editors

1. For further information or to request interviews, images or case studies of how the Map has already been used, please contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL media relations office, on 0207 679 9728.

2. A demonstration of the Map is available at http://www.mapofmedicine.com . Please note that to explore the sample, your computer must have Internet Explorer v5.5 or above.

3. Medic-to-Medic is a spin-out company of UCL Biomedica, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UCL.

4. The Map of Medicine is the result of a partnership between Medic-to-Medic, the Royal Free and University College Medical School , the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and the NHS National Library for Health.

5. Fujitsu Services was appointed the Local Service Provider (LSP) for the Southern region under the National Programme for IT by the Department of Health in January 2004.