It has been announced that by April 2016 Clinical Commissioning Groups will now be required to submit digital roadmaps to NHS England in order to outline how they plan to “eradicate the use of paper in the treatment of patients across all health and care services in their region by 2020.”
The decision comes as part of the ‘Five Year Forward View’ set by the NHS in which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for the NHS to become ‘paperless’ by 2020, just one of the changes set to be made in order to generate a significant saving of £22 billion in the next five years.
Details of the new requirements were announced at the recent NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester, where NHS England’s director of digital technology Beverly Bryant discussed the changes:
“The footprint for the roadmap will cover a single CCG area or multiple CCG areas, with the decision of whether or not to collaborate being the CCG’s choice. We’ll then map the whole country and see gaps to have discussions on who needs to go where”
Technology has played a major role in the Five Year Forward View with NHS England planning to introduce new “levers and incentives” to encourage the adoption of digital working and CCGs will now be accountable for meeting the agreed milestones they set out on their roadmaps.
Speaking of the call for a ‘paperless’ NHS, NHS England’s director of patients and information Tim Kelsey has stated that: “The NHS in England must end the unnecessary reliance on paper in the treatment of patients. It’s key to making services safer, more effective and more efficient.”
Latest statistics from NHS England have estimated that currently the annual cost of storing patient records on paper is between £500,000 and £1million for each individual trust, therefore the potential cost savings of going digital are significant.
Other elements of the switch over to digital working include the use of NHS numbers that allow healthcare professionals to match records to patients wherever they appear in the system, and the implementation of barcode technology on patients, pieces of medical equipment and drugs, to ensure that the right patient receives the correct drugs and dosages.
As well as the roadmaps due in April 2016, CCGs must also put in place a clear governance structure in order to support the development. Guidance published last week states that the roadmap will cover the whole of the local health and care economy including secondary care, social care, community, mental health and primary care and outlines how the CCGs should be organising themselves in order to create and execute the roadmaps.
Many will be questioning where the funding for this program is set to come from and Beverly Bryant has announced she is currently working on submitting a case to government for the spending review which if successful, will award CCGs with extra funding.
Digital Health News reported concerns from CCGs this week with the Chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee Dr Chaand Nagpaul saying the new requirements are a “very tall order” for CCGs.
“It’s an extremely ambitious time frame. We are finding that CCGs are having an escalating level of responsibility passed on to them without the commensurate increase in organisational capacity”
However NHS Cumbria CCG chief clinical information officer William Lumb has spoken out in favour of the move:
“I like the idea that they are allowing local health economies to be defined and they are not looking for a one-size-fits-all for all of the country, so it makes sense on a lot of levels.”
Although showing support for the move, Lumb did touch on concerns regarding the funding for the new project and believes there must encourage money being behind the initiative to ensure its viability.
It would seem that NHS England have recognised both the time and financial savings that an investment in technology can bring and since our analytic solution CXAIR has been utilised by a variety of NHS trusts and other health organisations we are eager to see an increase in the use of technology within the NHS.
For more information on how CXAIR from Connexica can help solve the data challenges of the NHS email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our healthcare page.