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NHS could save £1bn with Web technologies

James Rogers
The NHS could save more than £1bn a year by applying Web-based technologies to healthcare, says a report by consultancy PwC Consulting, a division of Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The white paper warns that most healthcare systems around the world are inefficient, thanks partly to inadequate use of IT.

A spokesman for the consultancy said, "Physicians, hospitals, drug companies and laboratories do not yet fully use IT to interact with one another or share knowledge, resulting in a poor service for the patient and increased transaction costs."

The report suggests that extensive use of the Internet in the healthcare industry could improve patient service and help the different organisations to save money through greater sharing of information.

E-health has also been identified as a way for the UK's health service to cope with spiralling volumes of data and the need to share it more efficiently.

The spokesman explained, "As information flows around the system more freely, there will be a move to greater standardisation."

He also predicted that new patient management systems and access to electronic health records would improve efficiency throughout the health service.

Experts agree that the use of Web-based Internet technologies could help NHS reform. Murray Bywater, managing director of healthcare analyst firm Silicon Bridge Research, said, "In the UK we are spending an estimated £8bn a year for people to process NHS information."

Web-based technologies could reduce this cost and allow easier implementation of the Government's plans to reform the NHS, he said.

PwC Consulting is part of a consortium including Oracle, McKesson and IBM, which was last week awarded a £325m contract to build an integrated HR and payroll system for the NHS.

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