Former NHS CIO: the risks of enforced standardization

Iain Marsland former chief information officer for Essex Strategic Health Authority, has written an article for Microsoft on the Care Records Service, a key part of the NHS National Programme for IT [NPfIT]. He referred to the importance of giving clinicians the opportunity to decide how new system works best for them and their patients.

He said the NPfIT Care Records Service has been designed as a “standard build with minimal local tailoring across both clinical specialities and entire hospitals”. He added: “The enforced standardisation has not been well received by clinicians, whose practice is essentially judgement-based and continuously evolving.

“The idea of an EPR [electronic patient record] is widely perceived as a positive step change in developing clinical practice and patient care. But the benefits may not be fully realised unless clinicians themselves are allowed to decide how the system works best for them and their patients. No matter which deployment model they used, the early EPR sites all understood this basic fact.”

Last August Peter Hutchinson, Managing Director, Public Sector, Fujitsu Services, appeared to sympathise with NHS trusts that did not welcome standardised systems. He said:

“What we are finding is that standardised solutions are disliked in some parts of the NHS. Fujitsu Services is working closely with the NHS to adopt a more flexible approach to local requirements.”


Iain Marsland’s article for Microsoft

Is the original plan of “ruthless standardization” being replaced with standardization where possible?