As the British National Health Service (NHS) look ominously towards 2011 when real term budget reductions of between £8bn and £10bn will began to take place. This could create some very difficult decisions about reducing access or cutting some services all together. Is there a way to make efficiency saving without impacting on patient care?
Devlin Mobile Computing believes that one area, although much maligned, that should be brought back into focus is the National Programme for IT. Devlin believe that the dynamic of the NPfIT could change significantly in light of the economic situation looming within the NHS.
“Moving ahead with the NPfIT is an opportunity for the NHS to achieve great efficiency savings whilst actually improving the service given to patients.” states Martin Baker, Managing Director of the Devlin Group “with the difficulties that have surrounded the NPfIT we have seen a growing number of hospitals leaving the programme and moving forward very quickly with hospital wide IT integration including the use of our computer carts which allow information access at the point-of-care.”
These breakaway hospitals can be held up as examples of what can be achieved through fully integrated IT systems. In the area of point-of-care computing Devlin can report that the use of computers on wheels (COWS) or similar mobile clinical aides produces both cost-saving and improved patient outcomes.
Baker commented that “The deployment of COWS on hospital wards can dramatically improve efficiency – clinicians are able to spend more time at the patient bedside as all the information they need is accessed wirelessly through the COW. Ordering and receiving test results, electronic prescribing, updating patient details, arranging discharge and transfers. All of these procedures when done by hand on pen and paper or at static work stations away from the point-of-care burden clinicians with avoidable admin away from the bedside which ultimately wastes time and money.”
Devlin believe that a greater proliferation of integrated IT systems within the NHS is one of the only ways to meet the financial challenges of the future without having to cut the services offered to patients and it is certainly the only way to make savings while simultaneously improving patient outcomes.
“It is important that the NHS act swiftly to bring sensible change before the budget cuts of 2011, a reduction of the service offered to the patients is simply not an option.” concludes Baker.