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News of the Day ... In Perspective


U.K. National Health Service Having Problems Implementing HIT

Hospitals have been reluctant to install some of the technology of the United Kingdom's National Health Service's IT program as a result of NHS financial problems and delays in implementing the appropriate software, according to the information technology head of the NHS.

Hospitals "have to go through a laborious data cleansing exercise" and train their staff before a new system can be implemented, said Richard Granger (Financial Times, Nov 27, 2006). The cleansing exercises are creating duplicate records, discovering patients who broke the government's waiting time targets and revealing payment discrepancies made by primary care trusts, he said.

Granger also says that the HIT currently offers only a few clinical benefits. The NHS program likely will focus more on other elements that can be implemented, such as electronic prescribing systems and digital X-rays. In 18 months digital images have replaced film in half of the country, patient data have become more accurate, 60,000 e-prescriptions have been completed, and the risk of transcription errors has been reduced.

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