NHS-R Community Conference – organisers’ perspective

WoW – that’s the best description we can come up with for our third NHS-R Conference 2020 which took place virtually during first two weeks of November 2020.

Over a thousand (n=1043) registrations from 39 countries in 5 continents. 15 amazing workshops and 41 inspiring sessions delivered by 62 speakers. But it is not only about the numbers – we were blown away by the breadth, quality, diversity and imagination of the speakers and our delegates.

“It was excellently organised and it was inspiring to hear from so many talented and passionate analysts!”

Lisa Cummins, Financial Strategy Analyst, Waltham Forest and East London (WEL) CCG

Newcomers ask what is R? A nice, clear question but as the conference program shows R is a “general integrated” data science tool that offers practical solutions for a range of data science tasks from mapping covid-19 outbreaks to automate 3000 letters to patients. But it is not just the NHS: conference also featured some amazing talks from various sectors and organisations. From Financial Times and Virgin Media to British Heart Foundation and DHSC: R and open source is the future of the transparent, shareable, and excellent analytics.

“Absolutely fantastic effort by the NHS-R Community. I have seen health systems in 3 Continents and NHS is simply the best and NHS-R is an extension!!”

Nighat Khan, Researcher, Edinburgh University

The NHS-R Conference offers a pulse check on the use of R in the NHS and the trend is clear. Our first people had 120 registrations, our second – 300. This year we had more than 1,000 registrations, 600 participants attended live and more than 300 re-watched later. If you missed the conference, you still have a chance to catch up. All the talks are recorded and are available on our YouTube channel: please have a look at talks and workshops playlists. They will also be uploaded to our website. Conference materials are being uploaded to our github page.

“Thank you to all the organisers & contributors, it was fantastic & I’ve learned so much!”

Lyn Howard, Clinical Network Coordinator, NWC Clinical Network

Our annual survey had some key data – still 1/3 of analysts regard themselves as novices. Please consider running a workshop for the NHS-R Community and we will do whatever we can to support you!

“The conference was a huge success and I though really highlighted some of the great work that’s going on around the country with R.”

Dr Richard Issitt, Clinical Research Fellow, Great Ormond Street Hospital

Our new venture is as partners with Hexitme. There was a sticky notes session on MIRO – below is a picture of the board – so much energy to mobilise knowledge in our community! On Hexitime we have an “NHS-R Wishing Well” for people to suggest ideas to the community.

The NHS-R Conference has become the premier data science conference in the NHS and care calendar. It has grown to this because of the engagement, passion and giving of our community members who contribute to together with support from RStudio, MANGO and Jumping Rivers. Every “little” action count’s and you can participate in making the healthcare analytics better.

  1. Join us on Hextime
  2. Please write a Blog post! You can see the examples on this website, just send a ready version to the nhs.rcommunity@nhs.net
  3. We run monthly webinars. If you have something to share, please email us at nhs.rcommunity@nhs.net
  4. We have a section in the AphA magazine which contains a short R-profile. If you want to be featured, please drop us a line.

As you can imagine there was a lot of underwater paddling to support the conference – so a massive thanks to all NHS-R Conference Team and a special mention for Anastasiia who carried the conference on her shoulders with a lovely smile and lovely sense of humour.

See you next year!