The man with the IT plan

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 04 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:310
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. London

    Assailed by critics, battered by rising costs, and investigated by the National Audit Office, the multibillion pound attempt to utilise 21st century information technology in storing patients' records, booking appointments, and handling prescriptions is not having an easy ride. The man ultimately responsible for the scheme is Richard Granger

    “Three years ago, quite a lot of people were of the opinion that this was mission impossible. It was just absolutely not achievable.” The man speaking is Richard Granger. The allegedly unachievable goal is the national plan to revolutionise the NHS's information technology. And the people with the negative view of its likely success include a great many doctors.

    Or rather: included (past tense). Three years on, Granger—the information technology supremo at the Department of Health—thinks that many more doctors have come to accept that it can be done. Their earlier scepticism, he concedes, was justified. “Computer systems are inordinately difficult to introduce into complex clinical settings. This is not like putting in a transaction processing system for a bank.” But now, he claims, the debate has moved from mission impossible to a more informed discussion about methods, approaches, and priorities.

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    Revamping and expanding the NHS's entire information system in England was never a task for the faint hearted, but it's what Richard …

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