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Experts Says ‘Paperless 2020’ Ambition Possible but Improbable

The Director of Digital Transformation at NHS Digital, Beverley Bryant said that NHS Digital needs to be more innovative and customer focused to achieve a paperless 2020.

Speaking at UK e-health week in London, Beverley said the organisation, which has often been criticised for moving at too slow a pace, is picking up speed and changing. The organisation needs to show pace and agility and highlights plans for improving interoperability, standards and collaboration with supplier.

According to a panel of experts at e-Health Week, the ambition of harnessing the information revolution and making the National Health Service (NHS)paperless by 2020’, while a laudable aim, is improbable as an outcome.

The NHS chief clinical information officer, Keith McNeil, chaired the lively debate and the chief medical information officer at Cambridge University Hospitals FT, Dr Afzal Chaudhry, led his organisation’s eHospital work. Afzal told delegates that the opportunity is a very simple one, which “is transforming patient care with the effective use of information technology”.

He said that the challenges is that there is so much pressure on service in hospitals and other primary organisations that finding the bandwidth to do this needs to be properly backed, otherwise it is impossible to do.

The chief nurse at NHS Digital, Anne Cooper said that while the things have moved on, there still needs to be work to make the system paper light not just for the professionals, but also with patients.

The chief operating officer of The HCI Group, Paul Walsh said that there is a huge opportunity for the system to learn from some of the experiences of pioneers like Salford and Cambridge, but some organisations really are struggling.

Paul further added that for some organisations, the challenges will be for timeline. While 2020 is 3 years away, even if you are live with an EPR now, achieving paperless or heavily paperlight is a challenge.

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