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back to article NHS trust spunks £67m on e-patient records, Twitter, Facebook

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS trust is planning to invest £67m in an information management and technology (IM&T) strategy over the next five years. A spokeswoman for the trust told Guardian Government Computing that the board in approving the plan noted "that where capital funding is required to progress the workstreams, …

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Meh

You know what would be awsome ?

A system which actually used all that fucking data they seem to ask for every time ? How about a system which sends an iCal to the email address, so your online calendar can be updated - with the added bonus your phone reminds you the day before, and which is shared back to the sender, so if you cancel, it knows and can (a) reschedule and (b) give that slot to someone else. How about a system which sends an SMS the day before - and which can recieve a reply, if you aren't going to make it.

The saved postage would pay for something like that in weeks.

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Facepalm

Re: You know what would be awsome ?

One improvement my local hospital - Houghton General in Banbury - could make is to realise that when you have back to back appointments there's no need to post two reminders. Every eye-exam I had required two appointments - one for the test and one for the consultant. As a result I got two reminders posted to me.

And yes - and SMS alert would have saved all the postage costs.

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Flame

Re: You know what would be awsome ?

Or indeed a system which actually knows how appointments work. I suffer from glaucoma, and currently see a consultant every six months. He likes me to have a field test just before. Now how simple would it be to have system which can work out that a field test just before the appointent is best ? Yet somehow, the current "system" loves to send an appointment for the field test, for a week *after* I have seen the consultant. Or the day before. Which then results in multiple phone calls to try and arrange the appointments so the consultant sees me just after the field test.

The scary thing is when I do this, none of the admin staff understand why I wouldn't happily take 2 days off work in a week.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You know what would be awsome ?

Join the club, I too have exactly the same issue with my eye tests.

What typically happens is they start in the right order, then I get the test re scheduled until after the consultant, I then call to move the consultant appointment but its never within 2 weeks of the original test.

Its such a waste, made worse by the blank bits of paper they post out on a six monthly basis which I then need to call them about to see if its for an appointment!

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Alert

Re: You know what would be awsome ?

I can beat that. When I was first suspected, by my optician, he wrote to my GP requesting they refer me to an opthamologist. I waited, and waited. Chased GP who said they had refered. Spoke to hospital who insisted they had send out appointement which wasn't kept, so they closed the file.

3 times this happened.

After 9 months, I actually spoke to the hopsital, and took the appointment verbally. When they said they'd post out the appointment TO MY OLD ADDRESS, all was clear

Obviously I told them to update it. They said it had been done.

Saw consultant. He booked an appointment there and then for 6 months time. I told him the problem, and before my eyes, he called the admin office, and checked the address. It was OK.

6 months - still no letter. Kept appointment. Consultant checked address again. Still OK.

Still missed letter.

Finally, I was sent to another hospital for phased eye-pressure tests. This meant I was asked to carry my file from one department to another. The second I had my hands on it, I solved the mystery. They had my address fine, on the notes. However, in the back, there was a sheet of labels, all printed with my OLD address. Needless to say, I tore it out.

So despite the system being 100% up to date, I would have missed the next 22 appointments - assuming there were no other rogue labels around.

The weirdest thing is, no one will actually admit it happened. When I told my consultant he wa emphatic they never used labels. The admin office said the same. And to be fair, appointment letters are printed with address on. Yet I know what I saw.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You know what would be awsome ?

I have problems believing that anything good will come of the NHS using technology to organise appointments amongst other things.

I got a call via an automated system from St. Helier hospital in Carshalton telling me about an upcoming appointment and asking me to confirm my identity by providing details. I never asked to be reminded so just hung up rather than provide private information to somebody whose identity had not been verified. The problem is the automated system didn't hang up itself and didn't seem to check for responses. I picked up the phone 24 hours later to make a call only to encounter the same automated system making the same request for personal information again and again. Presumably it had been going on for the whole day in between time.

No wonder the NHS has problems with funding - they're probably wasting huge amounts of money on phone calls...

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Happy

Re: You know what would be awsome ?

Commiserations about the glaucoma. There was a suspicion I might have that but after three appointments and two years of tests the consultant gave me the all clear. Actually what he said was "According to the field test you should have difficulty reading. But you play golf and clearly don't have any problems. It's not getting any worse so until it does if it doesn't bother you it doesn't bother me".

Quite how the machine can say I should barely be able to read when I have no difficulty at all is beyond me. It seems a pretty obvious and straightforward test :-/

One thing I did learn though: I'd far rather have my eyeball pressure tested by someone poking it with a stick than having a blast of air blown at it :)

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"Dear @Patient3312 don't forget your enema is today lol"

Coffee -> Monitor.

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Coffee/keyboard

It's the 'lol' that makes it especially funny :)

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Coat

LOL

Lots of Lubricant ? - just asking.

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Anonymous Coward

Working in (a different trust) NHS IT I can safely say this will be a huge disappointment, nothing will truly work properly, contractors' promises will be broken, handovers won't be finished properly and management won't have learned a thing from 'lessons learned'.

rant over.

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Unhappy

My experience of NHS 'IT'

My local GP surgery asked if I would mind if my telephone contact number was used to send me reminders of appointments. I said, "Of course not, that's what it's for, to contact me (duh!)"

The following week, the day before my appointment, I arrived home in the evening to find three voicemail messages that had been left at roughly 10am, 2pm, 4pm.

Each message was three minutes long and each was identical: "If you are Mister Frank Ly, please press button 3 now. ", repeated continuously for three minutes. This was their outsourced patient appointment reminder system. It was obviously designd and run by people who had no idea how the real world works and how real people behave.

Needless to say. when I went for my appointment the next day, I told them to remove my contact number from their system and never to give my number to another organisation again. They seemed surprised that I was annoyed.

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Stop

Outsourced cold calling

Slightly OT, but don't you love these new automated cold calling systems. They can't even be bothered to hire someone to annoy you now. Last 3 voicemails on my straight-to-voicemail voip number have been automated marketing calls.

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Unhappy

Managementese

Would someone please translate this into English for me?

"that where capital funding is required to progress the workstreams, business cases would be developed to support investment decisions".

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Stop

Re: Managementese

Backhanders.

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Coat

Re: Managementese

What it actually means is that altho they have said they're going to spend all this money, made loads of promises etc... they actually havent put the money aside yet. Indeed the money might not be there at all. Someones got to justify it now... so expect f*ck all to happen.

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Anonymous Coward

FFS, it really fucks me off when I see shit like this.

I work in IT for a private hospital. It's not been uncommon in the past for us to be asked to implement stuff like this (though not all at once - we're a small department so do bits at a time). But do we see those budgets? Course not! I wouldn't go so far as to say private companies see the value of money, but we know when not to pour it down the sodding drain.

Despite the industry I happen to work in, I'm a huge supporter of the NHS, but it really stings to see money wasted like this. Two million quid for "knowledge management"?!?! Install a Wiki and give a 15 minute presentation to your staff on how to use it! Maybe a few tens of £ in staff time spent. Fuck's sake!

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You're right. Our Trust wanted to buy some software which prompted users to update their details when they logged on, which in turn updated AD. They got quoted ~£20k I think, including all the bells and whistles. We (IT) found one for a couple of hundred dollars which did everything we needed, but without our help the project managers would probably have ploughed on.

However this my experience in nhs IT: Our budget it get allocated, we spec something up, then the budget gets cut and we have to compromise and the system never really works as we can't afford to do what we wanted to achieve in the first place. We do try and get 'inventive' with licenses etc but there is only so much you can do.

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Unhappy

NHS and IT?

Gotta agree woth the pessimists when it copmes to NHS and IT.. I know of one NHS organisation where the IG Manager wanted WinZip installed. Response from the IT head - "You'll need a project manager ...."

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Re: NHS and IT?

Obviously this didn't happen.

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this phrase fills me with horror

> "The majority of the projects, whilst containing significant IM&T elements are fundamentally transformational in nature," the board paper says.

I'm an incrementalist.

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"to progress the workstreams"

If any human being actually said or wrote this, they should be strangled with their own tongue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "to progress the workstreams"

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2002-05-05/

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Social media?

I can't wait to use facebook to "check in" at the clap clinic.

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Re: Social media?

Also a Facebook plugin to allow you to share the fact that you now have chlamydia with certain other users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:Re:Social meedja

"Also a Facebook plugin to allow you to share the fact that you now have chlamydia with certain other users."

We'll draw a veil over that one. Like the plugin angle, though.

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