This is a report out of the UK in which GPs have requested a review of the approximately 6 Billion Pounds being spent on upgrading the NHS. Delays in development and deployment and less than complimentary commentary about systems such as the 'Choose and Book' system which is currently being rolled out have caused significant difficulties for the NHS overhaul.
My take on this initiative is that it is extremely difficult to implement significant change in health care systems that are running at virtual full capacity. It is somewhat like trying to change the wheel on truck while the truck is moving at full speed and expecting that the change is going to happen smoothly. In defense of the NHS project, this is a very complex and difficult task to accomplish and sometimes it is only possible in retrospect to evaluate the progress. It is too difficult to see where on is when surrounded by a cloud. Ultimately, I believe the UK will be successful, but with any change, there is significant pain. This is comparable to the difficulties physicians face when implementing an EMR in a busy practice, just on a much grander scale.
Experts from the article:
"The Financial Times reported that the government had admitted the electronic records system - a database which could be accessed by health professionals anywhere in the country - was more than two years behind schedule. Instead, the NHS has been promoting the choose and book system, which it said has helped make 400,000 appointments to date. But in the survey, by BBC Radio 4's File on Four, doctors remained less convinced. Four out of five GPs had access to the computer system, but half said they rarely or never use it. Only about one in five said it was good or fairly good.
"So far, experience has been very patchy in terms of how well or badly the electronic booking system works." And Richard Bacon, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, said the entire project had been plagued by a "whole load of problems", while choose and book was "little short of a disaster".
And Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs committee, said there were concerns over patient confidentiality that needed to be addressed before the scheme was rolled out. And on choose and book, Dr Meldrum added: "While the concept of being able to book their hospital appointments whilst in the GPs surgery is superficially attractive, there are a whole host of technical and practical problems that have to be addressed.
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