IT helping to Improve Patient Care at NHS Trusts

Clinical Dashboard

The Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust believes that better information management is a key reason why it has been able to improve its standard of patient care. A few years ago the Trust developed a ‘Clinical Dashboard’ which tells Doctors and Nurses everything they need to know about a patient. The system, which was built by an in house team rather than outside contractors, pulls information from eight different databases in order to create the dashboard.

The example is just one of many localised IT projects that have generated significant improvements in the standard of hospital management and quality of patient care. The Birmingham Trust holds ‘Foundation Trust’ status meaning that it has greater power to determine how the hospital is run. The new Government will be keen to develop more Foundation Trusts in the years to come, thereby devolving power from Strategic Health Authorities.

National Programme for IT (NPfIT)

Meanwhile there are currently question marks over the future of the National Programme for IT which has seen costs spiral in recent years. The scheme, which intends to create a centrally held database of NHS patient data in England which will connect 300 hospitals and more than 30,000 GPs, may be set for the scrapheap following the formation of the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that details would be released in the coming two weeks of any plans for the scheme.

The Government is currently seeking ways to reduce the budget deficit substantially and disliked expensive projects such as NPfIT may end up on the chopping block. The Government has already announced plans to scrap the National Identity Card Scheme within 100 days and many other projects are expected to follow.

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