NHS fails to use IT, says King's Fund

The NHS must catch up with other sectors in its use of IT according to The King's Fund.

The NHS must catch up with other sectors in its use of IT according to The King's Fund.

The NHS could make it more convenient for patients to receive the care they need using everyday technology and innovation, say two reports published by The King's Fund.

The reports argue the NHS has been slow to adopt technologies already in widespread use elsewhere, such as in the financial services and travel industries.

The NHS is failing to use even well-established technologies, such as e-mail and the internet, to help patients. These could be used for booking GP appointments, receiving test results, viewing medical records or conducting online consultations.

One report, Transforming the patient's experience of care, outlines a vision of healthcare over the next decade in which technology transforms the way patients receive care and interact with the NHS.

This includes using e-mail to communicate with doctors, and more advanced technologies such as video-conferencing for medical consultations.

Technology in the NHS co-author Alasdair Liddell, senior associate at The King's Fund, said: "Consumers are accustomed to using technology in their daily lives - 17m people bank online and 55% of internet users book their holidays online. Yet new technologies, and even basic ones, are not embedded in the health service."

Alasdair Liddell said: "Consumers are increasingly expecting to use technology in their healthcare, and technology companies such as Google and Intel are responding to this demand. The NHS must commit to improving the patient experience. This will require an understanding of why useful technology is not being adopted and a determination to overcome these barriers."

The reports:

Transforming the patient's experience of care>>

Engaging Patients in their Health: How the NHS needs to change>>

Read more on IT efficiency and sustainability