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This and other articles over the years have lamented the lack of
progress with NHS computerisation. It can be done and must be done but not
on the present trajectory.
The source of the malaise is not hard to find - the current system is
a grandiose management tool with marginal clinical utility. Achieving a
satisfactory outcome will depend upon getting the stiff necked
managerialist/political cadre, with their own data agenda, and the legions
of pallid nerds, who have contributed to the project in isolation from the
clinical front line, to open their eyes to the practical realities of IT
use in a clinical setting.
The three key developments must be: 1/ The engineering of a user-
friendly, keyboard-free, large touch-screen interface bearing vastly more
information at the same time than the present gnat's ear'ole displays. 2/
The adoption of a simple and universally readable basic file format that
can be transmitted to any other NHS IT device by any available means. 3/
The relegation to a backroom function of all the management data trawling
Clinicians (nurses, doctors, pharmacists - everybody) need to be able
to focus exclusively on the clinical function when in consultation, having
the whole of the patient's record available in front of them and all of
the tools necessary to achieve optimal quality and productivity. Non-
clinical distractions must be eliminated.