The majority of hospitals are seeking electronic patient records outside the National Programme for IT, with three in five already selecting alternative systems, according to research from Computer Weekly.
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In a survey of 178 health professionals, three-quarters of which were based in secondary care, 68% said they intended to spend less than £5m on electronic patient records over the next two years.
Nearly one in four said they were still using records supplied by BT, while 16% were using records from CSC. Just 30% said they had a mature electronic record system in place.
Jim Williams, application development manager at University Hospitals Birmingham, recently implemented an online patient portal to enable patients to take control of their own records using Xchanging’s network and systems integrator Data Integration and Entrust.
Williams said he was not surprised by the findings, adding that more trusts are likely to move away from using NPfIT electronic patient records systems. “I can’t comment whether this procurement involved us moving away from the NPfIT contract, but my wife works in another trust and they are doing exactly that. I think a lot of trusts will be doing this, but are finding it difficult.”
Dr Farhang Daemi, founder of consultancy Healthcare Technology Solutions, said: “There is a lot of activity around this area at the moment, with [many trusts] looking at doing their own thing. People are also looking at innovative solutions such as software-as-a-service electronic records. Of course healthcare has a stringent set of [privacy] requirements but many other sectors also have strict privacy requirements and are using SaaS products.
However, hospitals are still taking a cautious approach IT procurements, he said. “There is a lot of apprehension about what the future will be like, as the National Programme for IT had an established pool of expertise for IT. People need to remember that expertise hasn’t disappeared. Generally larger foundation trusts are moving ahead of smaller organisations.”