Right idea, wrong approach
Hopefully we all agree that the current system(s) leave(s) a lot to be desired. I would suspect many would also agree that IT may be able - at least in part - to lessen the administrative burden and likelihood of clinical error.
The question then is how should this be done?
The current CfH approach is clearly doomed to failure: a large, high budget, centralised IT project with poor oversight, moving goals and conflicting political shenanigans. Worse of all, (due to the forced replacement of local, feature-rich, tried and tested solutions with a centralised, limited feature set, buggy and error-prone system) poor end-user acceptance, which results in poor quality healthcare service (incomplete/incorrect records, lack of user empowerment/ownership/stewardship, and so on.)
I've always maintained that rather than competing with the long-established healthcare software companies, we should capitalise on their work (trained/educated install base, support network, complementary ecosystem) by stipulating common/open data exchange formats (an NHS patient record XML schema?), interconnectivity requirements, and an agreed set of minimum security controls (multi-layer permissions/access control, audit trail and security log management, segregation of duties, DLP and backup management and so on.)
There would be great savings and fewer deaths by just moving many of the current manual and thus error-prone tasks such as appointment calendaring, prescription generation/management and data tracking into their electronic equivalents. This does not need a new completely new technology (e.g. not the doomed Choose-and-Book, for example), but just better deployment of existing technologies. Honestly, even Outlook, Word and Excel would suffice, but open source or third-party alternatives would work just as well - this is not about finding a perfect centralised system (an oxymoron), but being pragmatic, with quick and easy local wins.
CfH should be steering the market by defining their vision and light-handed requirements with suitable feedback and involvement from the practitioners and IT healthcare companies, allowing the open market to implement this vision as they see best. This way, the best IT companies are rewarded for their implementation and innovation, and allows GPs and other healthcare providers to choose the best system(s) for their needs.
But hey, these are just my ideas. How would you do it?
AC, 'cos I want to continue to work with CfH and healthcare providers...
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