Hunt challenges NHS to be paperless by 201816th January 2013
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the NHS should be paperless within the next five years.
He has set a target date of 2018 for the health service to become paper free.
In a speech to Policy Exchange, the health secretary also wants the NHS to improve services and help meet the challenges of an ageing population by that date.
He outlined a vision of an NHS where patients have compatible digital records so their health information can follow them around the health and social care system and ensure that whether they are with a GP, hospital or in a care home, that the professionals involved in their care can see their history and share crucial information.
The speech coincides with two reports that highlight the potential benefits of making better use of technology.
A Price Waterhouse Coopers study reviewing the potential benefits of better use of information and technology found that measures such as more use of text messages for negative test results, electronic prescribing and electronic patient records could improve care, allow health professionals to spend more time with patients and save billions.
In addition, a National Mobile Health Worker report published a pilot study on introducing laptops at 11 NHS sites.
Mr Hunt said the NHS cannot be “the last man standing” in the technology revolution.
“It is crazy that ambulance drivers cannot access a full medical history of someone they are picking up in an emergency – and that GPs and hospitals still struggle to share digital records,” he added.
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