Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Monday, January 07, 2008

Progress Seems to be Happening with the UK National Program for Health IT.

A press release arrived from the NHS Connecting for Health Program a few days ago.


PACS and Choose and Book win Health IT honours

The Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) and Choose and Book programmes have both been honoured at the Health Business Awards.

Just weeks after winning the title of 'Public Sector Project of the Year' in the Computing Awards of Excellence, the PACS programme has landed another major accolade.

Representatives from the PACS team were at the Health Business Awards in London to pick up the 'Healthcare IT award', which recognises the programme's role in the 'innovative introduction of new technology for storing, retrieving and distributing data throughout the NHS'.

Receiving the award for the PACS programme were programme director Mary Barber, London programme manager Luke Davie and Dr William Saywell, PACS clinical lead for the South and one of the many clinicians who have been working with the programme.

On collecting the award, Davie said: "It was an honour to receive this award and to be part of a programme that has delivered such tangible improvements to the NHS.

"The award recognises the commitment of all those involved in delivering the PACS service, including the NHS trusts who have put in so much effort to making this a success. I know all the team look forward to delivering further improvements to PACS, to support NHS staff in providing care to patients."

Choose and Book

Alongside PACS at the Health Business Awards, the Choose and Book programme was commended for its website www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk.

It was a runner up for the 'NHS website of the year' award, which recognises NHS websites that provide a comprehensive and easy to use communication channel aimed at either the public or internal NHS. Criteria includes design, accessibility, usability, take up and cost effectiveness.

The Choose and Book programme was represented at the awards event by web development team leader Beth Johnson, web developer Alex Thomas, senior communications officer Liz Kalaher and training analyst Julie Taylor, who collected the commendation at the Royal College of Physicians.

Beth Johnson commented: "The NHS CFH web development team and members of the Choose and Book programme have invested considerable time and effort in making the Choose and Book website as accessible and user-friendly as possible.

"It has been important for us all to ensure that Choose and Book users can access this resource for information, guidance and training easily and quickly. So it is great that the team's hard work has been recognised in this commendation".

A little later there was this release


Roll out of digital technology revolutionises NHS patient care in England

State of the art digital technology that has revolutionised the way the NHS captures, records and uses patient x-ray and scans is now being used in every hospital trust in England, the Department of Health said today.

Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) are replacing the old way of capturing x-rays and scans on film and paper enabling clinical images to be stored electronically and viewed on screen.

The roll-out of PACS has been a major element in the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), which is helping the NHS to deliver better, safer care to patients via new computer systems and services.

Using this technology, healthcare professionals can look at images at the touch of a button. X-rays and scanned images are available to view on screens in different locations such as x-ray departments, out-patients clinics, operating theatres and in-patient wards simultaneously.

The system also gives clinicians instant access to old x-rays and scans, enabling the comparison of old images with new. This is especially useful when treating long-term conditions. Images can also be rotated, enlarged and manipulated in other ways, helping clinicians diagnose conditions more quickly and accurately.

More timely reporting and clinical decision-making, and more efficient ways of working, mean that PACS is making a major contribution to the delivery of a maximum 18-week wait for patients from referral to start of treatment.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said:

"The benefits of the introduction of PACS in terms of improved patient care are massive. This innovative technology speeds up and improves the accuracy of diagnosis, saves time and improves the quality of care. Trusts are reporting that the time taken for radiologists and radiographers to issue reports to clinicians have typically been halved from more than six days to less than three and these report turnaround times continue to fall with some hospitals reporting all imaging within 24 hours.

"This year marks the 60th anniversary of the NHS, an ideal time to reflect on how the service has evolved using the skill of its dedicated staff and technological advances together with record investment to continually improve the standards and quality of care for millions of people. The NHS is the envy of the world, which is something we should never lose sight of."

As well as improved patient care, the introduction of PACS is also saving money with trusts reporting an average saving of £250,000 in their first year of using the technology.

In 2004 the Government introduced the programme to implement PACS in all English trusts. The final trust to receive a PACS as part of NPfIT was Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust on 10 December 2007, marking the completion of a three year process that has seen 127 trusts across England receive PACS.

PACS medical director Erika Denton, a practising radiologist, said:

"We all recognise the role that PACS is playing in improving patient care. Prior to the advent of NPfIT it had taken 50 trusts some 14 years to implement PACS. But in the last three years, the pace has accelerated massively; the speed and scope of the roll-out has been an incredible achievement. It's a credit to the way that NHS Connecting for Health, strategic health authorities, trusts and IT service providers have worked together."

Notes for editors

  • NHS Connecting for Health supports the NHS in providing better, safer, care by delivering computer systems and services which improve the way patient information is stored and accessed.
  • 127 trusts have implemented PACS as part of NPfIT. This three year roll-out contrasts very favourably with the 14 years taken to implement those PACS which pre-dated the programme.
  • As a result of the efforts of the PACS programme there is now a firm foundation for further technical developments, such as improved sharing of images and reports across trusts and regions, and links with independent sector treatment centres and the extension of PACS into new clinical specialties.
  • Clinical engagement has been crucial to the success of the programme, and will continue to be so in the future. A number of clinicians have important roles within the programme's management and governance structure and the programme has worked closely with the relevant professional bodies including the Royal College of Radiologists and Society of Radiographers.
  • The success of the PACS programme has been widely recognised by clinicians, professional bodies and industry commentators. In recent months the programme received the accolade of 'Public Sector Project of the Year' at Computing Magazine's 'Awards of Excellence', and the ‘Healthcare IT award' at the Health Business Awards.
  • Over 473 million images have been stored so far using PACS supplied as part of NpfIT.

This scale of activity suggested it might be an idea to see where things are up to – from the perspective of those delivering the program.

The status is summarised thus:


Latest deployment statistics and information

The facts and figures below are correct as at 14 December 2007, unless stated otherwise.

Choose and Book

  • Over six and a half million (6,538,938) bookings have been made to date.
  • Choose and Book has achieved over 20,000 bookings in a single day.
  • Choose and Book is being used for over 45% of NHS referral activity from GP surgery to first outpatient appointment.
  • Over 85% of all GP practices have used Choose and Book to refer their patients to hospital in the last week
  • The number of bookings made last week was 90,516.

Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)

  • Over 56 and a half million (56,597,355) prescription messages have now been transmitted electronically.
  • 1,688,723 prescription messages were transmitted electronically in the last week.
  • 6,756 GP practices have had technical upgrades to the new system. 4,894 of these practices are actively operating the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).
  • 7,376 pharmacy systems have had technical upgrades to the new system and 5,538 are actively operating EPS.
  • EPS is being used for over 17% of daily prescription messages.

GP2GP Transfer

  • GP2GP has now been used for 49,086 medical record transfers.
  • 4,042 GP practices have had technical upgrades to the new system. 2,850 of these practices are now actively operating GP2GP.

National Network for the NHS (N3)

  • Approximately 1.2 million NHS employees now have access to the new broadband network N3.
  • N3 can save the NHS an estimated £900m over seven years, relative to previous NHSnet contracts.
  • There have now been 21,373 connections to N3 and over 99% of GP practices are connected to the network.
  • N3 is one of the largest Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in the world.


  • An average of 983,152 messages are sent/received across the NHSmail platform daily.
  • When migration is complete NHSmail will have over one million users - the largest private, fully-featured, secure, single-domain e-mail service in the world.
  • The number of users registered for NHSmail, the national NHS email and directory service is increasing every week.
  • There are now 309,844 registered users.
  • NHS CFH staff have migrated to NHSmail.


  • There are 121 Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) from NHS Connecting for Health now live across England.
  • Over 437 million images have been stored using PACS from NHS CFH.
  • PACS has been used for over 20 million (20,020,136) patient studies.

NHS Care Records Service

  • 133,120 Summary Care Records have now been uploaded to the Spine.
  • There are 428,323 Smartcard holders who are registered and approved for access to the Spine.


  • There are approximately 1,700 visits to sites to plan deployments every month.
  • 200 NHS sites have systems upgraded every month under the National Programme for IT.

It is clear from this that there is a great deal happening on a range of fronts and there is no way it is stopping now. Barring some unexpected accidents or interventions it now looks likely that by 2010 or so the NHS in England will have an ICT Infrastructure and an operational Application Set that is going to make it the envy of most public health systems around the world. As far as I know only Kaiser Permanente has got this far to date at a comparable scale.

It hasn’t been perfect and there have been many mid-course corrections but – allowing for the inevitable spin contained in such releases - it really seems some progress is being made.

I think we can be cautiously hopeful it might all work out in the end!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The UK story certainly provides some real food-for-thought? BCG in its recent review of NEHTA said that "NEHTA executives have articulated a ‘fast follower’ strategy, whereby NEHTA would use the experience gained in countries such as the UK and Canada to deliver eHealth at a significantly lower cost." So, given the UK's state of development - what does 'fast follower' mean in terms of concrete deliverables to Australia?