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Thread: NHS and lack of technology and stuck in a rut - what's your view?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    NHS and lack of technology and stuck in a rut - what's your view?

    A couple of years ago I had to be taken to hospital via Ambulance. The paramedics were friendly and efficient.

    The lead paramedic, called Kerry, asked me a series of questions and wrote them up with a ballpoint pen on carbonated paer that I thought was quaint and old fashioned.

    On arrival at A&E the triage nurse took a verbal account of my injuries from the paramedic but then asked me the same questions I'd answered in the ambulance.

    A few hours later I was taken to an assessment ward were, yet again, I was asked exactly the same questions which took 20 minutes.

    A day later I was transferred to another ward where, yet again, I was asked the same questions. The basic information only needed to be taken once and typed up. After that nurses need only look at the notes on a tablet to confirm who you are. They could even take a picture of you and attach it to the notes.

    If the NHS wasn't technophobic the paramedic could have used a 'tablet' to input data into software held in 'the cloud' That way all the other nurses could have accessed the information about me on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

    The NHS needs to up its IT systems and working practices if it wants to be efficient and effective. Saves paperwork, time and back office staff.

    I doubt anything will change but it is madness not to change working practices as technology advances.

    What's your view?

  2. #2
    Senior Member galeforce81's Avatar
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    Problem is, they tried to update the NHS I.T system but it had to be scrapped, costing £12 BILLION. They love to waste money on these massive projects which ultimately fail. Although if they just tried to do a few small things at a time then it would be much better and more efficient.

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    It's not so much the NHS is technophobic as making technology sufficiently reliable and robust for medical use.

    On the face of it, a tablet computer sounds a great idea, but you need:
    • sufficient power to last a whole shift
    • the robustness to survive being dropped, used near defibrillators and dunked in fluid
    • the ability to be cleaned and decontaminated rigorously
    • no privacy concerns if the device falls into the hands of an unauthorised person
    • robust and secure data communications for transfer of data


    I'm sure these problems will continue to be worked on. For example, there's already thoughts of using 3G or 4G technology to provide secure high bandwidth data communications for the emergency services (which the existing TETRA based Airwave network cannot provide).

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    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Some good points raised there Flymo. Seems like they've tried and failed. The only accessory they need is a pencil sharpener - cheap and cheerful!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    Some good points raised there Flymo. Seems like they've tried and failed. The only accessory they need is a pencil sharpener - cheap and cheerful!
    One problem that I forgot is that capacitative touchscreens (the sort used in modern phones and tablets) don't work that well when wearing gloves. Resistive touchscreens do, but they're regarded as old hat, only work at their best when used with a stylus, and are inherently fragile as they rely on a layer above the screen physically bending.


    The old (and I understand aprocryphal) saying about the 1960s space race comes to mind. The Americans spent a fortune designing a ball point pen that worked in zero gravity. The Soviets used a pencil.

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    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Something else to consider. Would you prefer to be treated by a tech savvy nurse with no empathy or a pencil pusher with people skills.

    On second thoughts let's leave well alone. I guess even if it is inefficient asking the patient for the same information each time they meet someone new it's a way of breaking the ice and engaging with the patient on a personal level.

    I can actually understand why it happens - there's nothing wrong with good old fashioned warm banter to make people feel welcome and less isolated.

  7. #7
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    I prefer the system as it is. I have been rushed to hospital on several occasions and been through several departments, seeing different Doctors etc. It means each department and each Doctor has the correct info and continuation of care is better.
    I have had occasions where a paramedic or nurse has omitted to record that I am allergic to certain drugs, so being asked by another nurse or Doctor meant that mistakes were not made.
    An example for me would be as follows;
    Call ambulance, transfer to A and E, from there to medical ward. From medical ward to surgical ward. Then to surgery, after that to gynae ward.
    So, I think it is important that questions are asked at every stage, by each Doctor, nurse etc.
    Even if technology was used, I still feel a "paper trail" is extremely important. Systems crash, information is lost etc.
    Also, as has been said, the personal touch is very important. Hospitals can be scary places, and personally, talking to medical staff, even if it is answering the same questions, can put your mind at ease somewhat.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

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