Does the NHS need a new brand of realism?

The application of IT in health is critical. The latest issue of the Journal of Information Technology focuses on the NHS and the continuing mega-programme, the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

Rethinking and reengineering the practice of health has too often been ignored in favour of the optimistic, though false belief that implementing new IT alone will solve all the problems.

But are the current approaches to IT investment in NPfIT threatening both its timely completion and its ultimate success? This current issue of the Journal of Information Technology suggests it is.

Providing a new brand of realism for the NHS.

Without a reality check in place the NHS will be condemned to repeat history with the same participants playing the same games and not actually confronting the real risks.

In this special issue of the Journal of Information Technology the key messages are:

* Everyone thinks NHS staff need more IT the idea of investing in IT is sensible. But, there is little agreement (ie clinicians, managers, IT specialists, suppliers, politicians, patients, taxpayers, press, academic commentators) as to where the NPfIT should be targeted.

* With so many stakeholders, a collective view is unreasonable. A monolithic programme that pretends that such agreement exists is misplaced.

* In such a large and complex organisation as the NHS whose structure has been devolved for operational simplicity, a centrally directed initiative such as NPfIT is fundamentally at odds with the structure and culture NPfIT is an organisational MISfIT.

* If the programme is ever to have any chance, it requires high levels of transparency and openness about the challenges it raises and the ways to resolve them.

A group of academic experts have provided papers for this issue so that the debate can be shifted to a new brand of realism where implementation and use of IT in the NHS really does make a difference for patients.

To view the issue online, go to:

To discuss interviews, extracts or to receive a print issue of the Journal, please contact: Christine Long at Palgrave Macmillan

Tel: 01256 302971 or e-mail: Palgrave Macmillan Journals, Houndmills, Basingstoke Hants RG21 6XS

Healthcare Republic does not have an editorial influence or input in to these press releases. The views expressed within these documents are not endorsed by Healthcare Republic or Haymarket Medical Publications Limited.

Enquiries should be directed to any contacts listed within the press releases.


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