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NHS not making full use of IT

24th October 2008

The King's Fund has said that the NHS needs to be "more innovative" in the way it uses technology to provide patient care.

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A King's Fund report stated that the health service was not using technology as efficiently as other areas such as finance and travel.

The report said that GPs should be able to email their patients and webchats could be used to discuss problems.

The NHS is currently redesigning and implementing a £12 billion IT programme. The process will last a decade and will see electronic care records and online booking introduced.

The report said that although nearly 20 million people use online banking and more than 50% use online booking for holidays, GPs and patients are not able to email each other.

The report said that hospital consultants could speak to patients' families using video conferencing when they were in different locations.

Anna Dixon, the King's Fund director of policy, said: "There are information technologies in most homes and pockets that could transform health care and the way it is delivered.

"These are not futuristic, these are technologies we use day-to-day. But when it comes to our health care, patients aren't even able to use basic technologies."

A Department of Health spokesperson said in response that they agreed the health service needed to improve its technical services.

The spokesperson added: "People are also increasingly using websites like NHS Choices to decide which hospital to go to for a particular treatment or operation or choose their GP."

 

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