NPfIT lessons - from South Africa

Students at Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, South Africa, have been presenting some of their MSc Health Informatics work, specifically a critique of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT). One aim is to learn the lessons – and discourage officials in South Africa from making the same mistakes.

This is an extract from a blog entry which summarized the presentations and the lessons:

“Dr Yogi Parimalarani talked about the students’ views of the lessons learned from NPfIT. She noted the importance of strong political support by the Prime Minister and continuity of leadership, although there was a drive to fast-track and meet deadlines, and professional anxieties were often not taken seriously and the experience of expertise of health informatics professionals tended to be ignored.

“Benefits included cost savings in the procurement processes, but there were problems of local capacity development for the future.

“One of the major problems of NPfIT, she says, was communication, which was handled badly, with lack of transparency.

“There was also lack of early involvement of users and champions in managing change. Other problems included shortages of skilled IT staff and of trainers to train staff, as well as a mismatch between the training and implementation. Clinicians were not consulted and involved early in the whole project/process.”

Comment:

South Africa learns the lessons from the NPfIT – a clear benefit of the programme?

 Links:

A Walter Sisulu University view of the NPfIT – South African health informatics blog

The WSU – its website

The University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust shares its NPfIT lessons – with the British Computer Society

Lessons from the NPfIT – Computer Business Review – December 2006

Lessons from troubled go live of Care Records Service at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre – letter from the National Audit Office, 2007

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