Experts question size of savings from NHS going “paperless”

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 21 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f438
  1. Michael Cross
  1. 1London

In his first public pronouncement on policy on information technology since taking over as health secretary for England in September, Jeremy Hunt last week urged the NHS to become a “paperless” organisation by 2018. The move would “save billions, improve services, and help meet the challenges of an ageing population,” he said.

However, recent studies by the department’s own consultants and US researchers indicate that realising “billions” from computerisation may be difficult.

In a speech to the think tank Policy Exchange, Hunt set out two sets of targets, for 2015 and 2018. For 2015 Hunt restated a commitment to allow patients to have internet access to their electronic GP records and for all referrals to be handled electronically, with “clear plans in place to enable secure …

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