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Digital Health Highlights

Tech support offered to vanguards
Papworth says no to Epic
NHS gets smart with contactless cards

Welcome [*data('2.first_name')|html*] Issue No 695, 7 August 2015 twitter contact



NHS IT departments would be forgiven for wondering what their funding is going to look like by the end of the year. One of the features of the healthcare IT market over the past few years has been that many trusts have maintained – or even increased – IT spending and staffing, in order to invest in systems that promise quality and efficiency benefits down the line.

Even so, two rounds of tech funding – and two rounds of nurse tech funding – were needed to stimulate interest in e-prescribing and the roll-out of nursing observations systems. And now the financial climate has grown considerably darker.

At the end of last week, NHS England put out its first package of funding and support to the 29 ‘vanguard’ sites that are to test out new models of care; stressing the importance of technology to their success in the process.

Yet on Monday, Monitor wrote to acute trusts, urging them to keep their burgeoning deficits under control by cutting back ‘non-essential’ spending and hiring and avoiding over-trading. And now the Health Service Journal is reporting that the Department of Health is about to announce controls on capital spending by NHS providers; which could, logically, hit IT programmes.

All this puts an interesting perspective on Monitor’s decision to investigate the finances of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and its implementation of Epic. It puts an even more interesting perspective on neighbouring Papworth Hospital’s decision not to go ahead with the same system, as part of what were ambitious, joint, eHospital plans.

Great IT is one thing. Its immediate impact on trust finances is suddenly another. Affordability looks like the coming issue. The spending round is going to be crucial for those ‘paperless’ ambitions.



Tech support offered to vanguards

Interoperability and information governance are among the technological priorities for NHS ‘vanguard’ sites, according to a support package published by NHS England.

Papworth says no to Epic

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has decided not to go with the Epic electronic patient record; in a move that coincides with Monitor's announcement that it is investigating the installation of the clinical system at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

NHS gets smart with contactless cards

NHS trusts will have access to contactless smartcards, so staff can log into clinical systems on tablet computers, from autumn this year.

James Paget takes on Viper

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Trust will deploy ReStart Consulting’s Viper360 portal to deliver a single view of patient information across the trust and community.

St George's first with the NEWS

St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust is piloting the use of vital signs monitoring equipment that integrates with its Cerner Millennium electronic patient record and new whiteboards.

Oasis MD checks into The Learning Clinic

Kal Vaikla, the former managing director of Oasis Medical Systems, has become the chief executive of The Learning Clinic.



One of the depressing facets of the internet revolution is that as soon as someone comes up with a great idea for a site or service someone else wants to hack it. Apparently, the forthcoming ‘internet of things’ will be no different. As several news outlets reported last week, two security experts demonstrated the possibilities of ‘car-hacking’ by taking control of a Jeep Cherokee driven by a reporter from the magazine Wired.

Over in the US, opinion seems to be that it will only be a matter of time before hackers try something similar with internet connected medical devices, such as IV drips or remote monitoring tools, or even implanted medical devices like pacemakers. The Food and Drink Administration has issued advisories and there’s even a name for it: medjacking. Oh joy.




Digital Health interview: Roger Killen

The chief executive of The Learning Clinic stepped down at the end of June, after ten years in charge of the company behind VitalPAC. Lyn Whitfield spoke to him.

Darn Tooting

St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust is working on making itself a “digitally-based organisation with a bit of paper”, as opposed to a “paper-based organisation with a bit of digitisation.” News editor Rebecca McBeth reports.

Bloody good ideas

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust recently reached the top of the CDMI. Digital Health news editor Rebecca McBeth went to see its most recent work on e-prescribing and blood tracking.


Featured comment


“Users are the weakest link. It doesn’t matter if you are using or Gmail. If you send hundreds of records to someone who shouldn’t have had them, then you have a problem.”

By: ex-NHS
Story: Microsoft meets secure email standard


Quote of the week


“For me, that was quite shocking – that there should be all this variation, when all hospitals have the NHS logo on them.”

Roger Killen on why he helped to found The Learning Clinic to deliver information to clinicians at the bedside.


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