The following report was released a few weeks ago.
Friday, 27 June 2008
A Systemic Overview & Synthesis of the Literature Report for the NHS Connecting for Health Evaluation Programme
Josip Car, Ashly Black, Chantelle Anandan, Kathrin Cresswell, Claudia Pagliari, Brian McKinstry, Rob Procter, Azeem Majeed and Aziz Sheikh
- There have been substantial developments in information technology hardware and software capabilities over recent decades and there is now considerable potential to apply these technological developments in relation to aspects of healthcare provision.
- Of particular international interest is the deployment of eHealth applications - that is the use of information technology in healthcare contexts - with a view to improving the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare.
- Whilst these eHealth technologies have considerable potential to aid professionals in delivering healthcare, the use of these new technologies may also introduce significant new unanticipated risks to patients.
- Also of concern is that even when high quality interventions are developed, they frequently fail to live up to their potential when deployed in the "real world"; a major factor contributing to this paradox is professional resistance to the introduction and use of poorly designed applications.
- Given that the NHS is now committed to the largest eHealth-based modernisation programme in the world, it is appropriate and timely to critically review the international eHealth literature with a view to identifying lessons that can usefully be learnt with respect to the future development, design, deployment and evaluation of eHealth applications.
Download The Impact of eHealth on the Quality & Safety of Healthcare (.pdf, 7.220 KB).
A useful presentation is also available here.
This is one of those reports that simply has to be read to be appreciated – at the very least the introductory 28 pages are vital and must not be missed by anyone interested in where e-Health is at present and where it probably needs to move.
It is good that those involved are now moving on with the following.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
NHS Connecting for Health, the flagship NHS IT programme, is to be evaluated by a national team of researchers led by the University of Edinburgh. The £1.5m study, which begins on 1st September 2008, will run until December 2010 and also involves researchers from the Universities of Nottingham, LSE, School of Pharmacy and the NHS. It will evaluate specifically the adoption of the NHS' Care Record Service which is being implemented in hospitals throughout England.
The key lesson I take from my reading is that it seems very likely use of Health IT can make a difference to quality and safety of patient care (it is assumed efficiency and care co-ordination is doable and valuable – certainly in countries with high levels of administrative complexity like the USA) but that the hard academic work is yet to be done to prove that is actually the case.
The situation in academic e-Health in Australia is, I fear typical, where both funds and career paths are problematic. Until this is fixed and we can do the trials that are needed to link the use of technology to really improved clinical outcomes in the real world the debate will continue. I wonder will I last long enough to see that happy day?