#nhssm: IT in healthcare, how to champion its use for the greater good

I thought I would share a few useful links and hopefully thought provoking perspectives before tonight’s #nhssm chat on IT in healthcare, how to champion its use for the greater good…

First links…

Department of Health information strategy – It’s so important at the DH it got a bespoke URL: http://informationstrategy.dh.gov.uk/.

Success or failure of the strategy rests entirely on the IT underpinning it. Information technology that:

  • enables people to change smoothly (i.e. doesn’t put up barriers)
  • enables digital by default publication of information
  • includes software that doesn’t need a Masters in computational mathematics and computer science to use it.

So how to go about laying down those exacting foundations? The Government Digital Service has blogged on procuring the right systems across government and it is highly applicable to the NHS too – Chris Chant’s post ‘The Unacceptable‘ is a breath of fresh air, and make sure you read his follow up, ‘SMEs – we need to talk‘.

Onto championing…

The NHS revolves around its patients. Staff in patient facing and non-facing roles ensuring patients receive the best possible care is the main driving force behind the continued success of the NHS. This is the key to championing IT in the NHS.

Ask yourself, “How can this IT solution improve patient care and experience?“. If you take this with you as you show colleagues what is possible with good IT I don’t think you’ll go far wrong.

And finally…

All healthcare staff must take with them to work an understanding of IT. If we aren’t aware of what is possible we’ll never create the pressure for change. Is your work computer as good as your 3 year old laptop at home? If it is I applaud your organisation!

By working with your IT colleagues to make sure future procurement decisions are based on end user need and not the past you can start on the road to fulfilling the information strategy’s vision.

In my experience a good IT system leads to happy staff, and happy staff are best for patients.


2 thoughts on “#nhssm: IT in healthcare, how to champion its use for the greater good

  1. Alex, you make some good points.

    However, (a) why does NHS tolerate poor spec desktop solutions for GPs?
    (b) why does NHS collude with broadband service to maintain substandard bandwidth across the network?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m not an expert on either of those areas but I will offer the below in partial answer:

      a) I think it is up to the GPs to procure their IT as they are independent businesses. However PCTs and in the near future the NHS Commissioning Board teams could and perhaps should state in contracts that IT has to be up to a certain standard.

      b) I think the standard response from Connecting for Health (CfH) is that the N3 network (the NHS’s part of the internet) could crash if there was a sudden upsurge in one area. Therefore by maintaining a lower but consistent broadband speed service is assured. There could also be a cost argument as well.



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