NHS urged to make better use of tech

NHS urged to make better use of tech

Summary: Well-established technology such as the internet and email is not being routinely used by the health service to help members of the public access the care they require, says a report

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The NHS is lagging behind other industries when it comes to using technology, according to an independent health think tank.

The King's Fund says the NHS could do more to help members of the public access the care they require.

A King's Fund report said well-established technology such as the internet and email is not being routinely used to provide services such as appointment booking, sending out routine test results and viewing medical records.

Co-author of the Technology in the NHS report, Alasdair Liddell, said people expect to use technology to access healthcare in the same way they use online banking and book holidays online.

The NHS, however, has had some web successes: the well-established web-appointment booking services, Choose and Book, has been running since 2004.

As well as suggesting everyday technologies could be better used, the report also looked at how more sophisticated technology, such as videoconferencing, could be used for consultations and virtual visits for hospital patients.

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The King's Fund also suggested there are barriers to the NHS taking up new technologies, including a lack of resources and a lack of incentives for clinicians to take up new technology, as well as a lack of leadership.

Technology leadership is an area the NHS has recently addressed with the appointments in August of a new chief information officer for health and a director of programme and system delivery for the NHS's tech agency, Connecting for Health.

As well as strong national leadership, the King's Fund also recommends the NHS strengthens its partnerships with the technology industry and use the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to make sure trialled tech is adopted by the mainstream.

Topic: Networking

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