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NHS organisations should be forced to go digital

All NHS organisations should adopt an electronic patient record system within five years, the BCS has said.

All NHS organisations should adopt an electronic patient record system within five years, the BCS has said.

In addition, organisations should be legally obliged to release patient information to the public where appropriate, it added.

The Chartered Institute for IT has made a series of recommendations in response to the Department of Health's consultation: 'Liberating the NHS, An Information Revolution'.

It also called for a single assurance body for informatics standards, covering health, social care and population health. "The role should include rapidly setting standards with roadmap for information management that are stable, enabling ICT suppliers to rapidly innovate solutions for health and care," it said.

Existing NHS procurement frameworks should also be enhanced so that new vendors can be added to the framework if they demonstrate a product meets the national minimum requirements, or removed if they are subsequently seen to fall below those standards, it added.

However, trade association Intellect has warned that the government's plans for an information revolution in the NHS will require a huge change in attitudes to make the 'revolution' work.

Jon Lindberg, Intellect's healthcare programme manager said, "A cultural change will be required if patients are to become active "information consumers", confidently handling their own medical records and choosing between providers and services."

Last week the British Medical Association said NHS organisations lack the lack the IT systems required to support a government plan to give greater patient access to personal records.

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