This interesting article throws a key light on the challenges of harnessing tech to improve the health services for rural dwellers who could benefit perhaps most from such an action. It tells us:

Richard Corbridge, formerly chief digital and information officer at Leeds teaching hospitals, describes the “excrutiating” situation of trying to realise centrally-imposed slogans such as “axe the fax” and “purge the pager” without dedicated funds.

Improving digital innovation in the health service is a central plank of the organisation’s 10-year plan announced in January.

However, recent months have seen the departure of several key leaders to the private sector, such as NHS England’s Chief Digital Officer Juliet Bauer, as well as chief information officers at Royal Brompton & Harefield and South London & Maudsley trusts, and senior staff at NHS Digital.

Basic innovations commonly embraced by businesses, such as embracing cloud technology or single sign-in systems, are passed up because funds are often diverted to “fighting today’s crisis”, Mr Corbridge warns.

Cloud services are considered crucial for improving the NHS’s clunky system for sharing patient records, currently considered the one of the biggest blocks to improving efficiency in the health service.

Meanwhile frontline doctors commonly grapple with up to 12 different passwords for various hospital systems, such as calling up test results, creating log-jams at computers on the wards.

While welcoming Mr Hancock’s vision and the promise of funds, Mr Corbridge argues that until cash for IT is ring-fenced hospital bosses will continue diverting it towards more “visible” concerns, such as extra beds.

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