January 16, 2013
Better use of IT could save more than £4billion and reduce hassle for patients and staff
The NHS should go paperless by 2018 to save billions, improve services and help meet the challenges of an ageing population, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today.
Jeremy Hunt said:
“The NHS cannot be the last man standing as the rest of the economy embraces the technology revolution. It is crazy that paramedics cannot access a full medical history of someone they are picking up in an emergency – and that GPs and hospitals still struggle to share digital records.
Previous attempts to crack this became a top down project akin to building an aircraft carrier. We need to learn those lessons – and in particular avoid the pitfalls of a hugely complex, centrally specified approach. Only with world class information systems will the NHS deliver world class care.”
Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information in the NHS Commissioning Board, said:
“I welcome Jeremy Hunt’s challenge to unleash the power of information and technology for patients and those who serve them. We are committed to transforming transparency and participation in the NHS – the digital data revolution is key to improving outcomes and putting patients and carers more in control.”
Bradford GP Dr Shahid Ali has already introduced technical innovations in his practice. These include online tools which help his patients manage their own conditions, by identifying the health problems they have which can be reduced through lifestyle changes, and supporting them through those changes. He said:
“The experience in my practice has been that the ability for patients to access actionable personal medical information about their own healthcare and clinical conditions changes the doctor-patient relationship in a very positive way. Patients gain a much greater understanding of their own health, which allows them to work with their GPs to set their own healthcare goals – and reach them.
“Online access is about harnessing patient power and enabling them to have the right information to make the right choices for their own unique circumstances and health needs. Helping patients to take control makes their experience of receiving care much more positive. As communications technology advances and this type of relationship becomes much more achievable, doctors all over the country are increasingly recognising the benefits of empowering patients, both for themselves and for the people they serve.”
Jeremy Hunt’s speech came as two new reports were published which demonstrate the potential benefits to staff and patients of greater use of digital technology in the NHS.