A paperless NHS by 2018?

The subject of the National Health Service (NHS) going paperless by 2018 has recently been a much talked about topic and one that we are very interested in. The intention to go paperless has many benefits for any organisation or institution, and the ambitions laid out by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, that by March 2015 everyone will be able to access their health records online is a big step.

According to a report from IT trade body Intellect, the change will require significant cultural change of patients and practitioners. The report continues to state: “Above all, the journey is a cultural one. The paperless NHS will only be a reality if the NHS, and its users, us as citizens, want it to be paperless. It can be done, and it can be done in the timescale the health secretary has set, if we are all committed to the ambition, resolute in its progress and pragmatic in its deployment”. It continues: “Digital information should be the norm in the NHS, not the exception. But above all, the use of information and supporting technology in the NHS should be the driver for improved healthcare outcomes and efficiency gains”.

Another proponent of going digital in healthcare is Vicent Moncho, who has put technology at the heart of care at his hospital in Spain. He says that the “transition to paperless is not just possible, but clinically essential.” He also says “The first is to put the ‘why’ at the centre of the strategy, entrenching a cultural understanding that the technology can help improve outcomes, improve patient safety and deliver efficiencies that can be reinvested into care. This can only be achieved if clinicians are at the heart of the project, helping to design a system which supports their workflow rather than obstructing it”.

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