Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has set out more details of his drive to improve technology and innovation in the NHS, describing such efforts as an “immediate priority”, and an “opportunity for saving lives”.
Speaking at the NHS Innovation Expo, he lamented a lack of integration between NHS systems, saying it lead to wasted staff hours, staff frustration, poor morale, and ultimately poorer patient care.
“our hospitals operate dozens of systems each, that don’t talk to each other. GPs, social care, pharmacies and community care are on different systems. Systems crashing is a regular occurrence. The social care system is not at all integrated, when its integration is vital”
– Matt Hancock (6th Sept 2018)
In response he is proposing implementing a code for NHS systems designed to ensure that future systems will conform to various harmonisation standards. This will ensure that different NHS systems operate a common approach reducing difficulties with interoperability. These standards should also help to safeguard privacy and ensure systems are protected against cyber-attack. Hancock also ruled out any attempt to impose a unified national NHS IT system, but highlighted £200m in funding for NHS digital to help manage innovation and system contracting.
The Secretary of State also outlined plans for an NHS app, designed on the principles of online banking services, which will provide the option of a single point of access for NHS services, information, and records.