Thursday, January 20, 2005

Lessons to be learned from failure of UKeU - WhatPC?

Lessons to be learned from failure of UKeU - WhatPC?

This article reports an investigation by MPs on the Education and Skills Committee into the failure of UKeU & suggests Sun's elearning platform could be made available to UK Higher & Further Education community.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Lords Hansard text for 18 Jan 2005 NHSU

Lords Hansard text for 18 Jan 2005 (250118-01)

In the House of Lords yesterday a debate took place about the NHSU. Lord Warner argued that the NHS Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation, was the best way to "support people development, service improvement and technological innovation in the NHS".

Baroness Perry of Southwark led the challengers asking why the NHSU which has spent £50 million in 2 years was now "past its sell-by date"?

Questions included a request for specific figures for mthe number of staff helped by NHSU but no answer was given, although the parties exchanged claims about their respective proposals.

Parliamentary Questions on Choose & Book & GP involvement in NPfIT

House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Jan 2005 (pt 4)

Yesterday in the house of commons questions were asked about delays in Choose & Book, the security and confidentiality of electronic health records and the engagement of front line clinicians in the process (especially GPs & EMIS).

Further information can be obtained from the National Audit Office report Patient Choice at the Point of GP Referral, which is reported in the Guardian as NHS e-booking plan runs into trouble which suggests:
"GPs in practices which were supposed to be fully plugged-in to the network were expected to make online appointments for 205,000 patients by the end of last month. They managed only 63. There was also slippage in NHS hospitals, with only seven early implementers using the system instead of 22 as planned."

The BBC has a story in a similar vein
NHS choice target 'may be missed', perhaps the questions which should be asked are about why GPs do not seem enthusiastic for the Choose & Book system and whether the savings predicted to come from implementation are realistic. Perhaps there are lessons to be learnt from the (slower & more possibly more carefull thought out) Scottish experience with Electronic Clinical Communications Implementation

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Informatics Review

The Informatics Review

The latest edition of the informatics review (8:2) has just been published & includes a lead story on:

"Should Dentistry Be Part of the National Health Information

And news items on:

* Patients can stay off NHS database

* UK Hospital Explores Computer Modeling to Predict Cancer Treatment

* OsiriX: an open-source software for navigating in multidimensional
DICOM images

* 'Plug and Play' Connectivity Initiative Launched

* Healing rate of EMR-induced ulcer in relation to the duration of
treatment with omeprazole

NPfIT Benefits Timeline

NPfIT Benefits Timeline

This flyer, sets out potential benefits for both patients and clinicians, from the National Porgramme with dates from the beginning of 2004 to 2010.

Most of the specific targets eg PACS, HealthSpace, eprescribing etc are given the nebulous 2005-2206 dates which may still slip. The 2010 target is for the integration of care records with social care - & seems the most "aspirational".

It will be interesting to see whether this helps to convince clinicians (and patients) of the benefits, and whether the targets are met.

Monday, January 17, 2005 | Society | Patients can stay off NHS database | Society | Patients can stay off NHS database

This story, from Fridays Guardian, highlights responses to worries about the confidentiality and the NHS electronic database, and previews a public information campaign to be launched in the summer to convince people about the usefulness and security of the system.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Relying on the computer is not the whole answer

An interesting report from the USA shows what we all know - simply putting in computers in not the answer.

A recent study found that medication errors associated with computer entry were growing steadily, and that 'mistakes associated with computer entry were the fourth leading cause of error in 2003, compared with the seventh leading cause in 2000'. See for the story.

The report is worth noting given that NPfIT now seem to be promoting patient safety as their number one reason for the whole programme.

As the report notes:
- simply automating processes does not automatically improve patient safety
- simply installing a computer entry system is not sufficient to reduce and prevent medical errors
- IT systems must be fully integrated throughout the clinical processes
- there must be enough time and resources to be devoted to staff training.
- all computer entry systems need to have extensive pilot testing to make sure that the systems do not perpetuate errors found in current systems.