So here is a little bit of a ‘stream of consciousness’ blog post I felt compelled to write, about why we chose Python for the RCPCH digital growth charts API. Not everyone will be interested in this, it’s here more a geeknote than anything.

We knew that we were going to build an API server. And we knew at some early point we were going to have to pick a technology with which to build a server. And there are many, many programming languages we could use. …

It’s been 5 years since the Clinical Software Usability Scale (cSUS) was created. Following a discussion with a friend and colleague Dr Dave Pao today, I realised there wasn’t really much out there describing cSUS.


Following the pattern established by the scoring of the established, pan-industry, Systems Usability Scale (SUS) 8, the questions are scored against a 5-point scale Agree Strongly — Agree — Don’t Know — Disagree — Disagree Strongly

The ‘axis’ of the questions is alternated in order to try to vary the ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ attitude that the question could be seen to have.

The questions were…

I’ve spent the last few months working with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) on a project to deliver a Digital Growth Charts web-service. It’s been a hugely interesting project to help digitise the complex clinical logic of growth chart use into code.

As part of doing that work I’ve done a lot of thinking and talking about the project — describing the fundamentals of the project to a wide range of stakeholders, and in doing so I started to get a glimpse of what the bigger picture might be.

What does it mean when a Royal…

An unusually political blog article from me this time. It’s still healthcare-relevant, but it’s concerned with some of the bigger-picture stuff that I’ve been observing. It also cuts across some of my other views — particularly those around open source in healthcare — because open source, sharing, and collaboration are pretty much antithetical to the current governmental zeitgeist, making it hard to move forward with those ideas while this thinking prevails.

Our governments are not on our side. They haven’t been for some time. They are complicit with big business and wealthy elites to funnel money from the public sector…

The TRUD (Terminology Reference and Update Distribution) — artist’s impression

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the way that NHS Digital communicates standards and interacts with its developer community doesn’t belong in the 21st Century. It has to change.

What is wrong

It’s 2018 and the breathless health-tech fangrrls and fanbois are quite rightly wondering where we are up to with delivering a whizzy hooked-up app ecosystem supporting self-care, video-consultation, online booking for everything and all kinds of other nice things, all integrated with NHS systems — because we don’t want silos do we? — and all compliant with standards.

We’re wondering why funky startups don’t enter the market…

I believe that closed-source, proprietary clinical software is fundamentally unethical, going beyond even the pharmaceutical industry in how closed source clinical software subverts the duty to share medical knowledge, and protects intellectual property to the detriment of patients.

Chamberlen forceps (image credit: public domain via Wikipedia)

When developing healthcare software it is important to recognise the additional ethical dimension that medicine brings with it. Medicine affects all human life in such profound ways that we need to consider the moral dimensions of its technological developments in a completely different way to that of other industries:

In other areas of human endeavour, for example, there is usually more choice…

The winner — Albert Launcher — on Linux Mint 18.2

Confession: I once owned a MacBook Pro.

There was once a time when I just had to try a Mac and see what all the fuss was about. In the end I came back to Linux (yes, really. Long story). But MacOSX left one permanent mark on me — I learned the productivity-enhancing value of application launchers like Spotlight and Alfred.

When I came back to Linux I looked around for a nice-looking, customisable launcher, and although there is a lot out there, Linux launchers aren’t quite up to the standard of Alfred yet. Nevertheless, it’s all free software (whereas…

We’re very excited to be able to announce that the Apperta Foundation, (formerly NHS England Open Source) has backed NHSbuntu with initial support funding of £30k, in order to facilitate the initial few work packages required for NHSbuntu’s next few steps.

Details of the work packages will be published shortly, and we are of course open to community suggestions for future work packages. Initially we’re focusing on setting up automated builds of NHSbuntu, and adding some fairly straightforward new features.

Future work packages will include the badly-needed support for the NHS Identity Agent (Smart Cards) to enable connection to the…


For a few years now I’ve been using the JavaScript-based, interoperable presentation platform called Reveal.js — the HTML presentation framework

It’s great for presentations that look different enough to be visually interesting, without hijacking the purpose of the presentation by over-embellishing the slides. The slides are not the point of the presentation. The concept you’re explaining is the point of the presentation.

With this in mind, I try to only use visual aids when I need to back up the point I’m making with a visual. …

[Originally published as a guest blog for JISC Govroam]

Hi, I’m Dr Marcus Baw and I’m a locum (freelance) GP and Emergency Physician in the North West of England. I’m also a health tech specialist, and a programmer. Being a locum means I work in a number of different NHS settings, which makes for very varied day-to-day work. It means I get to experience a wide range of NHS organisations and see how they vary in terms of their [lack of] provision of WiFi for staff.

Me, the NHS and WiFi

WiFi in the NHS has become a bit of a soap-box subject for…

Marcus Baw

#HIT100 NHS GP | Clinical Informatician | Ruby & Python dev | co-founder NHSbuntu & openGPSoC | Freelance Health IT

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