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NHS doesn't demand interoperability

11 October 2012   Lis Evenstad

NHS staff need to understand how IT fits into their business strategically and be clear about their requirements when procuring systems, says the head of healthcare at Intellect.

Speaking at the the Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology Expo on Tuesday, Jon Lindberg told NHS attendees that they need to take a stronger position on what they want and need when procuring IT systems, especially with regards to interoperability.

“You (the NHS) don’t demand interoperability, you don’t demand standards. We need to work with you to make you understand how interoperability fits in,” he said.

Lindberg explained that system implementations are more successful when medical staff are on board from the beginning and are clear about their requirements.

He urged NHS staff to be more active in informing the products they want.

“Be clear up front and make sure both sides understand exactly what they’re doing, what the capacities and needs are and overall a bit more thinking about where you want to go with your solution.”

Intellect set up a formal partnership with the Department of Health last year with the aim of creating a vibrant market for IT.

Lindberg said that following the end of the national programme for IT in the NHS, the new information strategy takes trusts in the right direction, but something needs to be done to “shake up that new market place.”

He said that during the NPfIT years, the NHS became too used to receiving goods “practically for free”, without really understanding how the IT fit strategically within their business.

He told the audience, mostly made up of NHS staff, that their mindset needs to change.

“In our daily lives we go online to book our flights and our hotels, we do online banking, but we still don’t believe enough to do that in the NHS.

“There’s a gap in the market where we don’t really have the demand meeting the supply,” he added.

 

 


Related Articles:

2 News: DHID and Intellect issue 'plan of works' | 5 January 2012
3 News: DH and Intellect draft 'vibrant' plan | 7 November 2011
Last updated: 11 October 2012 15:22

© 2012 EHealth Media.


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Sweeping generalisation?

RichardM 79 weeks ago

Some of us in NHS trust IT departments do argue strongly for adherence to standards (where sensible standards exist), and have done for years. Usually that argument is with suppliers who either can't be bothered to adhere to standards, or who prefer to use it as a way of locking customers in.

NPfIT was dropped on us from above - but we are under no illusions that it was "free", and are now picking up the pieces.

As for creating a vibrant market - the problem now is we have little or no money, and unless projects save money in the very short term they don't get a look in.


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a user centred approach

CharlieYoung 79 weeks ago

And I see a responsibility for the NHS to become aware of, and for industry to embrace more effectively, the best practice extensively available from commercial sectors, especially that of placing the user - be that a patient or NHS staff member - at the very centre of any IT or digital initiative. They remain pivotal to playing out the business processes that will ultimately underpin the functionality designed into IT systems and their needs have to be thoroughly understood and tested.

Getting that wrong today is an indication of who is - and who isn't - in control of the product.


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Interoperability is key

timbenson 79 weeks ago

Jon is quite right. As the NHS evolves we all have to recognise that the many-to-many communication, which are inevitably required, can only be achieved by interoperability. It is astonishing that after about 25 years of effort, how little has been achieved in this area. We have failed to provide incentives to encourage interoperability. Perhaps if commissioners recognised that information is the only thing that they will ever receive in return for the money that they shell out to providers, then they will become more demanding in what they require. Providers will inevitably comply.


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