Editorials

The NHS's new information strategy

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7163.900 (Published 03 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:900

Emphasises putting information to work for patients and staff, not technology

  1. Jeremy Wyatt, Director (jeremy.wyatt@ucl.ac.uk),
  2. Justin Keen, Fellow (j.keen@kehf.org.uk)
  1. Knowledge Management Programme, School of Public Policy, University College London, London WC1H 9EZ
  2. King's Fund, London W1M 0AN

    News p   901

    How often are you forced to phone a colleague to get an endoscopy report or ask your patient which drugs she takes, even though all are documented somewhere? With our crumbling cardboard records and circuitous communications, assembling patient data takes time and effort and often involves interrupting colleagues. Small wonder we spend a quarter of our time managing information,1 eroding time needed for the carefully balanced judgments required in most consultations. Now, however, these impediments have been confronted by the government's Information for Health strategy,2 and proposals, together with a £1bn subsidy, have been made for eliminating them.

    This strategy, published last week, maps the routes towards helping patients receive the best care, explores some in detail, signposts others, and defines implementation milestones over the next seven years (see p 901). For doctors and patients implementation of this strategy should end the communication compromises we assume are inevitable: repeated duplication …

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