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Update on recruitment:

26th February Applications closed
1st March Shortlisting
4th March Applicants invited for interview
10th-12th March Interviews
15th March Offers of places sent out
May Gathering information
June Sending out contracts

Capturing information from operating theatres


We are offering up to six intern places on a group project during July and August of 2021. Interns will work together as a team on a ‘super-project’ bringing a diverse range of skills and experience to develop a project, from specification to final completion.

This year’s project aims to develop a simple hardware and software solution to capture the information from operating theatres about implanted medical devices, operations and procedures.  The intention is to create a low-cost solution that could be used by the NHS to help to gather data into the new National Theatre Dataset.

The project will be run by Health Data Insight CIC and we will be able to draw on close links with expert colleagues working in the NHS and NHS Digital.

What is the National Theatre Dataset (NTD)?

A recent review by Baroness Cumberlege into the complications that can occur following implanting medical devices has recommended (recommendation 7) that data on all implanted medical devices should be collected at the time of the operation.  Device manufacturers are required to put unique bar or QR codes on every device and it will soon become a requirement for hospitals to record this information on all devices implanted into patients so that patients can be followed up months or years later.  The National Theatre Dataset is currently being developed to hold this information so we know about all procedures carried out in UK hospital theatres.

What exactly is the HDI Internship project?

This project has a number of components:

  • development and evaluation of a simple and low-cost solution using existing cheap barcode scanners to capture relevant information from operating theatres.
  • exploration of ways of capturing additional information about the operation, those involved, the location of the operating theatre and relevant information from the anaesthetist – for example the time the operation started, how long it lasted etc.
  • a secure method of storing and sending encrypted information to NHS Digital so that it can be incorporated into the National Theatre Dataset where it will be linked to other patient-level information.
  • creation of resources to facilitate data collection in operating theatres – for example posters with relevant bar codes and procedures that can be scanned
  • basic analysis and visualization of the data collected

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for enthusiastic students with a diverse range of skills to be part of an innovative multi-disciplinary team: skills and experience will include topics such as hardware devices, methods for local data capture and storage, data analytics, data presentation and visualization. The project will have input from clinical colleagues working in peri-operative medicine and the teams in NHS Digital responsible for collection of the National Theatre Dataset and device classification.

What skills/experience do I need and who can apply?

Enthusiasm and eagerness to work as part of a small team of like-minded individuals are the main attributes we are after.

Candidates from all backgrounds and at any stage in their further education are welcome, particularly if you have interest or experience in one or more of these areas:

  • use of QR or 2-d codes for information storage and transmission
  • data encryption
  • geolocation to room level
  • Bluetooth communication
  • capturing data from medical equipment (rs232 data standards etc)
  • visual and science communication
  • stakeholder engagement

The internship is open to anybody who is eligible to work full-time in the UK.

…as a mathematics student I usually don’t have a lot of chance to do a group project like that … we come from different backgrounds so … we can help each other specialise in different things so we work as a really good team. That is something that I didn’t expect but I really enjoyed about the internship. (Aisha, 2020 intern)

What do we offer and how are interns supported?

This internship is a chance to join a thriving and enthusiastic community of bright individuals. The team will be supported by an Intern Team Lead, with specialist input from developers, project managers, analysts, science communicators and many other professionals.

This internship is about developing specialist skills and also a chance to enhance your communication, collaboration, organisational and team-working skills.

The normal working week is 37.5 hours; we offer a salary of £1,500 per month, flexible working and 2.5 days leave per month.  Interns will meet regularly to discuss their progress on the project and the Intern Team Lead will always be available either in person or online for queries and support.

When is the internship?

Internships are offered for two to three months starting on Monday 28th June 2021. The team will give a presentation on Friday 27th August 2021 to showcase their work.

Where will the placement be?

If permitted by COVID rules, the interns will work in the HDI offices in Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge although travel to other sites may be necessary as part of the internship. If remote working is necessary, we have the setup required to do this.

How do I apply?

To apply, please send an up-to-date CV and a covering letter outlining what skills and attributes you would bring to the intern project and any background experience that you feel is relevant to confirming when you can start and when you would like to finish.

What is the deadline for applications?

The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 26th February 2021. After short-listing we will let you know if we require any more information and/or whether we would like you to attend an informal interview. All applicants will be notified whether their application has been successful after this process has completed.

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