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20 August 2013

CIO interview: Mark Austin, Bedford Hospital

After 18 years working in the NHS, Mark Austin, CIO of Bedford Hospital, has seen a lot of change in the organisation and a lot of different people in charge, trying to push IT in a new direction. In 2013, it is all change again, with the latest health minister, Jeremy Hunt, calling for all patient medical records to be digitised by 2015 and the entire of the NHS to be paperless by 2018. Austin is in no doubt about whether the latter of the goals can be achieved in five years’ time. “No,” he told Computer Weekly. “I think going paperless by 2018 is a good aspiration, but totally paperless is just too big an ask.” Austin described recent years in the health service to have been “strange” for an IT professional and to hear someone talking almost wistfully of the days of the failed National Programme for IT shows how odd things are. “We have gone from NPfIT where everything was laid out with clarity and direction, to a place where the tech direction for reform disappeared for a few months,” he explained. I think going paperless by ...

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