Earlier today, 24N.biz Editor Gary Flood confronted the topic of Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) and how effective they actually are in his weekly Editor's Letter.
Ronald Duncan, Chairman and CIO of UK cloud-based e-procurement firm cloudBuy responded.
My local hospital still do not have a joined up system between A&E and the rest of the hospital, the rest of the hospital and my GP are unable to see any of the scans or other info from A&E, and A&E can not see the other data.
This means that both sides can not see things like my blood tests and know if they are normal or not. Clearly it would help them if they could see, and any system needs to be user friendly and designed for the purpose.
A system with 50 clicks to record a simple incident is clearly not fit for purpose.
On the other hand one of the biggest bills in the NHS is paying the lawyers to defend against malpractice cases. Stopping harming people and thus having to stop defending cases for things like operations on the wrong arm or leg, and leaving in swabs is clearly in the interests of everyone. The chief medical officer addressed a lot of this with the basic check list which reduced death rates by 80% with an even larger reduction in the non fatal malpractice.
Things like standard surgical kits that have the same layout and the same number of swabs for all surgeons make it much easier at 5am to count the swabs in and out and ensure that nothing is left in.
It is worth pointing out that the US system is the worst health care system in the world in terms of both outcomes and value for money. We should be benchmarking against Japan who are the best for both outcomes and value for money and focus on prevention rather than cure after the fact. The Japanese to have 1,000 year start on us since they have always paid doctors when healthy, and stop paying when sick, so the doctors have always had the incentive to keep people healthy. The US is the worst case of having the opposite incentive and thus carrying out a mixture unnecessary work and poor public health.
Outside of the core medical area our service is the best at procurement, sustainability and a number of other areas.
There are always areas to improve, but often the rest of world is looking to us, rather than the other way round.
By Ronald Duncan, CIO and Chairman, cloudBuy