Hugh de WardenerBMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6561 (Published 13 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6561
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In memory of Professor Hugh de Wardener CBE
His family, friends and colleagues invite BMJ members to
The Queen's Tower Rooms, Sherfield Building, Imperial College Road,
2 for 2.30pm, Saturday 5th April 2014
Reception afterwards at 5pm
The Queen Tower Rooms open onto the Queen’s Lawn. Enter Imperial College by Imperial College Road where you will see the Queen’s Lawn and the Sherfield Building on the far side. If walking up Exhibtion Road from South Kensington, Imperial College Road is on the left shortly after the Science Museum.
If you intend to come, it would be helpful to let us know at Michelle.Willicombe@imperial.nhs.uk
Competing interests: No competing interests
I have read several obituaries paying tribute to this remarkable man, but neither this British Medical Journal obituary Nov 13, nor others in national newspapers nor that on the web-site of the Renal Association, make reference to his role in the evolution of medical computing. In an interview, available on the web-site of the International Society of Nephrology: http://cybernephrology.ualberta.ca/ISN/VLP/Trans/deWardener.htm Professor de Wardener describes his role in several of the many developments in nephrology in which he was involved. He does not refer to his contribution to medical computing.
De Wardener recruited individuals capable of utilising the evolving power of computers to contribute to patient care and to the management of a clinical unit. He recruited Michael Gordon and Conrad Venn from Imperial College to implement his vision for developing computer-held clinical records that could not only replace paper records but could greatly enhance them by the use of interactive graphics of numerical data eg pathology results and by providing linkages to major events, including changes in pharmaceutical management.
Those who visited the Charing Cross Unit in the prototype stage of this development found a system that was far ahead of other concurrent developments. Having failed to get conventional research support to fund progress de Wardener and Gordon set up a company, Clinical Computing Ltd. The PDS system, later to evolve into Proton, became the information system for many renal units and for units in other specialties, both in the UK and overseas.
The slow and expensive development of Health Care Information Systems and the failure of many would have been greatly more effective had hospitals better utilised the vision of this remarkable man. He focussed the Charing Cross renal information system on the recording of the clinical journey of individual patients. The statistics required by management on any cohort of patients then become available with a simple instruction as well as clinical care, especially in complex chronic illness, improving. (Gordon M. Venn JC, Gower PE, De Wardener H. Computer Handling for dialysis and transplantation, in Computing in Clinical Nephrology (Ed: Knapp & Stead) Kidney International, 1983 24,433-525,
Competing interests: In the past, but not recently, I was associated with the commercial development of IT projects initiated by the late Prof Hugh de Wardener.