Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations The Best Policy

Involve clinicians to avert a digital disaster

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 17 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i888
  1. Nigel Edwards, chief executive
  1. Nuffield Trust, London
  1. nigel.edwards{at}

And other lessons for creating a paperless health system

The UK government’s recent spending review announced £1bn for health technology. “Better connected services for patients,” it promised, and the information that doctors needed “at their fingertips.”

Nobody can argue with the aspiration—but nobody can forget the less than encouraging history of spending on information technology in the NHS.

The lessons of the National Programme for IT, which cost more than £10bn a decade ago, seem to have been learnt. One size does not fit all: the government has now sworn off top-down rollouts, in favour of trying to support and guide initiatives with more local input. But there exist many other potential paths to disaster, as we at the Nuffield Trust found while carrying out research worldwide for our new report.1 …

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