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back to article Hospital boss slams patient records system

Andrew Way, the chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital, said the move to electronic records had cost the hospital £10m, increased waiting times for patients and required an extra 40 admin staff. Way told the BBC he had personally apologised to staff for taking the decision to go ahead with the project. Way said it cost £10m …

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Bronze badge

funny that

when i worked at the nhs i could of told them that

but mind you when my lung collapsed it was very handy having the digital xrays, very nifty.

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Bronze badge

name of software?

I saw thins on BBC news this morning, and have since then been wondering what piece of softare they are/were using.

I work in a hospice that is make the transfer to electronic paper records, and while its not without its problems, it should work out in the (not too) long run, it would just be nice to know that we are NOT using the same system that they are.

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Thumb Up

sp, but yes

Euthanasia.

PACS (medical imaging stuff) was not part of NPfIT, the PACS were mature technology - there is even an Open Source system from the University Hospital of Geneva - and tended to come with massive chunks of ionising and magnetising hardware.

Since there were obvious benefits and actual products in use hospitals were buying them in order to work better and save money. <s>Most</s>Some didn't buy enough licences to look at pictures for their systems in order to save a bit more, but that is the usual closed source nightmare.

NPfIT took over the kudos for these done deals.

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Alert

you know its F**ked when.....

The usual trough feeders on the government gravy train IT are backing out!

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Stop

Inevitable

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The NPfIT should design the standards defining the demographic and medical data that needs to be captured, implement a clearing house for locating patients by NHS number and demographic, and then butt out.

Local Trusts and the big commercial companies would then be free to either develop or purchase systems that implemented the standard dataset, and that work with the industry-standard central protocols and methods whereby the data can be securely exchanged and transmitted.

All of the rest is just billions of pounds of public money being poured out of the health service and patient care into the pockets of Blair's, and now Brown's, mates in the contracting companies.

Posted AC as I'm running our local solution at this very moment!

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Typical

Ok.

Boss agrees to implement half-ass system without doing proper research. System fails spectacularly. Boss says "sorry" and thinks thats the end of it.

Just another banker.

Whatever happened to "the buck stops with me?". If I made that kind of mistake I would be fired without a thought. No doubt he'll continue to get a nice massive pay-packet.

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Tim

Hmm

Another crap project deliver from the government, I wonder if this is down to them using the slow and cumbersome Prince2 methodology to deliver them. Moving over to PMP would fit in better with the rest of the world and create a saving by immediately closing down the OGC.

Tim#3

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Hands up

Who couldn't see this one coming? Amazing isn't it.

Also, to be pedantic; patients are quantized - not a continuum - so surely fewer were treated, rather than less.

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Dead Vulture

Cost/ Benefit

The cost benefit of the system always looked very dodgy. £12Bn would buy a lot of nurses and doctors so the system would have to deliver a lot of efficiency savings to be worthwhile. Now we find out that it takes four times longer to use than then old way and needs extra staff not less. Surely the project should be killed off. Shame the government rarely understands the concept of sunk costs and doesn't want the embarassment of admitting that the whole thing has been a disaster.

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Stop

I thought the problem..

..was because each Trust can decided on their own IT systems so making everything work together is a real dogs dinner of integration especially as there are no agreed standards.

Typical Government IT project without clear direction, requirements, leadership. Stop it now and use the money for more doctors, nurses and equipment for our troops.

Perhaps a petition on the e-Gov site?

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Black Helicopters

No2ID

I can only hope that the prosposed National Identity Register implementation is managed in the same way - then we can finally scrap Wacqui Jacqui's white elephant ID cards for good

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Coat

Pedant calling...

'fewer patients' shurley?

Mines the one with the antiseptic hand wipes in the pocket

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Boffin

Competition

"...was meant to benefit from competition..."

FFS. Why is this government so obsessed with the idea of competition. The only thing that this usually yields is corner cutting at the expense of the end user to get one over the competing companies.

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RW
Flame

The List of Confirmed Liars

It appears that even the most senior of managers don't realize how many liars there are these days. Here's a little list to help them.

1. Marketing types of any description. Whatever they say, disregard it entirely.

2. Spin doctors and PR practitioners.

3. IT consultancy firms.

4. UK Government ministers and their anointed sidekicks.

5. Bankers and their comrades in arms.

6. Nearly everyone else, if there's money or personal advancement at stake.

Print this out and hand it to your higher ups!

I'm sure that when I was young, one started by assuming people told the truth, but it appears that now the concept of truth has either been tossed out the window, or the label "truth" repurposed to mask lies.

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Joke

the announcement ...

was closely followed with a funding bid of £20 million to undo the harm caused by a loss of £10 million?

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new X-Ray system

I had an X-ray recently. It was done on the hospital's digital x-ray machine, and put on the new NPfIT system. Aparently on the old system, my doctor would get the digital x-ray (using the sopftware supplied with the digital x-ray system. Now the x-ray goes on the NPfIT system, and then a new administrator has to print out the x-ray and fax it to my doctor (can't even do it as a paperless fax!)

Both the radiographer and doctor are upset about the progress.

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Anonymous Coward

Oooh...

@Dav3 - Royal Free, I believe, were trying to implement Cerner Millenium.

@Mike Dolan - I think that the Royal Free were stitched up by the DoH - reading between the lines. I suspect that Way is for the chop - this is him going down fighting.

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the problem

is that they are still trying to build a system that is applicable to the way everyone works across the NHS, in most places this would be the logical, and least disruptive way. however, in this case, it appears that there is no standard way of working. You can't define the roles, and processes for those roles, as people do the same things in vastly different ways across the organisation, which pretty much pisses on most of the analytical techniques used to define an IT system.

because of this, a vital first step in the NPfIT has to be an overhaul of working practices and processes, consolidating and synchronising them across the country. Only then, can an IT system that compliments this be built. It's a pretty basic pre-requisite for any IT system, and as a developer, i am constantly dealing with the fallout of ill defined processes.

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Pirate

Workmen & Tools

As someone who works on the peripheries of NHS IT, but is not directly involved in NPfIT, these kinds of things make me mad... yet again a public servant screams about how these IT suppliers have failed to deliver without ever looking at the common denominator in all these failures... the p*ss poor management of IT within these organisations. For those without direct experience of most NHS trust IT functions, imagine how you operated your IT function in the late eighties... now imagine doing that with a bunch of teenagers, snoozing sixty-somethings a few years from retirement and a selection of unions reps with chips on their shoulders and jobsworths... any real work that simply can't be avoided getrs done by a small core of contractors who have spent the last 10 years ensuring you're so dependent on them that you simply can't affford to hire any decent permanent staff to help you out... and of course the unions make sure you can't get rid of the rest of your sorry crew.

Now with that background try to imagine implementing a modern enterprise app - whether the app is any good or not it simply won't stand a chance of getting implemented right and the folk in the IT function are well practiced at shifting the bale to anyone else but themselves.

As has already been pointed out, the app here is Cerner Millenium, which is apparently run with reasonable success in hospitals worldwide - yet when UK NHS trusts try to implement it, it all suddenly doesn't deliver...

Apologies to those few good IT professionals out there in NHS land, but to the rest of you... hang your heads in shame - this is OUR money your wasting with petty feudalism and outmoded union working practices

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Anonymous Coward

re: the problem

In other words it's just what we feared - design an IT system - or import one from the US where the organisation is different and doesn't scale - and insist that the whole of the NHS changes to fit the IT system purchased/designed by people without a clue about the business, what deliverables are needed or the slightest idea that changing the requirements part way through (18 week wait?) will cause problems for system design is the ideal process - because you *only* need to change the organisation to fit the IT?

I've always felt that system designers might be a bit detached from the messy world the rest of us live in: now I'm sure of it!

The problems pre-dated the NPfIT - and were the cause of many of the failures prior to NPfIT : requirements drawn up by administrators who did not understand what was needed, filled by developers with no understanding of the business and processes, and used by end-users who had no input or ownership and found the new IT made their work more difficult, not easier.

Why do you think GP IT has been so successful? *It didn't follow this pattern!* GPs paid for their systems, had direct contact with the suppliers, and, in the then competitive market, largely got what they wanted and needed.

What happened to all the middle-ware being developed to link disparate legacy (did you know that legacy systems have been redefined as systems that work?) systems before NPfIT came along and LSPs were handed a momopoly on NHS IT in England?

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Alert

Pretty much everyone right

Trouble is not the suppliers, nor the hospitals, except when they foolishly resist like the Royal Free (which takes its name far too literally). The NPfIT is driven not by medicine, nor even technology, but with the departmental goals of the DoH and the sophisticated Envy-Of-The-World (TM) management plans of the NHS in mind.

Never mind patient care or local need, everyone must OBEY and produce management figures for the dozens of interlocking bureaucracies. All IT must of course be centralized in procurement AND implementation, so there is no possibility of a future reform that abolishes or downsizes those bureaucracies or diminishes the functional grandeur and power of the DoH itself. A key strategic goal is to sweep away all this nonsense about confidentiality and the idea clinicians have duties to patients in medical ethics that might conflict with the great mission of fully nationalised, centrally organised, totally equalitarian (except for people who fail to live by DoH guidelines) healthcare.

The Versailles treachery that is the Lloyd George envelope must be repudiated and the unconquerable will of the department duly asserted: all your future are belong to us!

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Flame

Typical

The scrapeyard over here installed a new system over the Christmas vacation. Now they take several minutes per car whereas you used to could get through in mere moments and even their own trucks take forever to get checked in and out! In addition, a recent crash managed to take down facilities in THREE DIFFERENT CITIES! Metal theft's down, though. Way to go, CMC!

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