Digital Revolution: Bringing The NHS Into The 21st Century

Adam Roberts | Nuffield Trust | March 24, 2011

This morning I logged in to my bank account on my smartphone, checked my balance, transferred some funds, and rated the service received for a book that I ordered online—all before my morning shower.  I then sent an email to my boss explaining that I would be late today because it was going to take me most of the morning, including travel time, to attend a ten minute follow-up appointment at my local outpatient clinic. Why is health care so far behind the times?

This was the topic we recently explored at a breakfast session at the Nuffield Trust’s 2011 Health Strategy Summit. The average cost of a face-to-face outpatient appointment, we were told, is £85. But many of these appointments could be done over the phone for as little as £10, or even via the internet for just £1. In a time of financial pressure and need for efficiency savings, why are the vast majority of these appointments still carried out in person?

The other topic we discussed was that of personal health records. The NHS currently operates in an environment with multiple, different IT systems. [...]