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EHI EHealth Insider Highlights

IT could save NHS £13.7bn a year: Kelsey
Royal Devon approves Epic business case
Joe’s view: interoperability is the new black

Welcome [*data('2.first_name')|html*] Issue No 688, 19 June 2015 twitter contact



Two very different visions for healthcare IT have been set out this week. Or perhaps it’s not the vision that’s different so much as the approach. First, England’s National Information Board held a meeting at which it claimed that the NHS could save as much as £13.7 billion a year by using new technology.

In theory, this will be arrived at by taking forward the ideas of ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020’, the IT and information framework that is, in turn, supposed to support the ‘Five Year Forward View’. However, the figures are more than a little vague – anything from £1.8 billion to £3.4 billion is to come from “supporting shifts in digital channels for patients and citizens” for instance – and there is little, if any, detail on how it is all to be done in any kind of coherent, consistent fashion.

Then, Ireland’s Health and Safety Executive issued a ‘Knowledge and Information Strategy’ that takes pretty much exactly the opposite approach: laying down in great detail how new structures, technical architectures, and integration approaches will be needed before new systems and services are implemented to “transform” health services in the country.

All of which, the strategy adds, will take time – at least five years, possibly more - and investment running to “hundreds of millions” of Euros. It will be interesting to see which approach gets the best results in the end. Meanwhile, NHS England has a job cut out to sort out the new e-Referral Service, which went live on Monday, but has been less than stable since. Although it seems confident it will get there.



IT could save NHS £13.7bn a year: Kelsey

The use of digital technology can create savings in the NHS in England of up to £13.7 billion a year by 2020, according to Tim Kelsey, national director for patents and information at NHS England.

Full records access promised for 2018

Patients will have real-time access to their full digital health record by 2018, under new plans unveiled by NHS England.

Choices rebranded as

NHS Choices will be rebranded as as part of plans to make it a “digital hub” for people to access health services, according to Beverley Bryant, director of strategic systems and technology, NHS England.

Ireland plans five year e-health journey

Ireland’s new chief information officer for health, Richard Corbridge, has issued a ‘Knowledge and Information Strategy’ that sets out the building blocks for a transformation of the country’s health services using e-health.

E-Referral Service stabilised - then not

The new NHS e-Referral Service was stabilised and running well on Tuesday afternoon; but it has subsequently suffered another day of problems.

Royal Devon approves Epic business case

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust board has approved a business case to buy the Epic electronic patient record after putting the programme on hold to assess costs.

'Diagnostic cloud' for NW London

Healthcare providers in North West London have created a single diagnostic record for their patients using Sunquest ICE.

Quote of the week


“We are responding, we are being honest, and people are engaging with it. I’m asking the service to bear with us. We’ve just got to keep working at it and get it right.”

Beverley Bryant, director of strategic systems and technology at NHS England, talks about the problems of the new e-Referral Service, which has been on and offline since it went live on Monday.




Joe’s view: interoperability is the new black

Joe McDonald has seen some impressive record sharing efforts recently, and thinks the big remaining question is how to fund similar across the country.

Another view: of hanging up on the phone

In the third of his columns looking at federation and the kind of IT that practices will need to make a success of it, Neil Paul considers better ways to contact and help patients.


Featured comment


“Rocket science?”

By: Rob Dyke
Story: E-Referral Service stabilised – then not




The diary always likes learning new words. So it was delighted to come across ‘organum’ in the unlikely surroundings of the ‘Knowledge and Information Strategy’ issued this week by the Health and Safety Executive in Ireland. In his foreword, Richard Corbridge, the HSE’s relatively new chief information officer, explains that it “refers to the multiple harmonies that create a new sound”, although it was “first applied to Gregorian chants in the ninth and tenth century, when polyphonic sound was created.”

Corbridge now wants to extend the idea so the “strategy become[s] the organum for the delivery of healthcare in Ireland, where the capability of a digital health system is unlocked by technologists, clinicians, project managers, analytsts, designers, patients, nurses and the public of Ireland all coming together to create a new voice for healthcare.” It’s rather a lovely image. But if everybody in Ireland gets it, then it will also be a tribute to the country’s education system. English policy making is not, shall we say, much given to drawing on the Latin of medieval music.


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