The UK’s new health and social care secretary has said that nearly half a billion pounds—equal to almost $650 million—will be devoted “to transform technology in the NHS in an attempt to reduce staff workloads and improve patient care,” according to a report in The Guardian.
Matt Hancock, who was named Secretary of State for Health and Social Care earlier this month, said in a recent speech that health technology would be one of his top priorities. According to the report’s specifics, “About £412m will be made available to transform technology in hospitals, to improve care and give more patients access to health services at home. A further £75m will be available for trusts to replace paper-based systems with electronic systems, which Hancock said could reduce medication errors by up to 50 percent.”
Hancock said in his speech, which took place at England’s West Suffolk hospital, “From today, let this be clear: tech transformation is coming. The opportunities of new technology, done right across the whole of health and social care, are vast. Let’s work together to seize them.”
A recent report from KLAS research found that electronic patient record interoperability in NHS England is benefiting patient care, but interoperability efforts are facing barriers, including limited data sharing and cumbersome processes falling outside of the clinician workflow.
The report specifically found, as detailed by Healthcare Informatics, that a substantial amount of patient data is being shared within the NHS, mostly via 61 local shared records across England. However, similar to the U.S., much of this sharing is limited in breadth and cumbersome in nature since it falls outside of the clinician workflow.
According to the report, Hancock said in his speech that the “test of finding or inventing the technology was relatively small compared with the challenge of embedding and embracing it.” He further noted that it was important to make the most of the funding by keeping people out of hospital.
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