Health Service Focus

07.12.16

The challenges of evolving technology and the paperless deadline

Source: NHE Nov/Dec 16

Jonathan McKee, governance manager at Tavistock and Portman NHS FT, and a co-chair of the London IG Forum, talks to NHE about the biggest challenges facing NHS IT.

The biggest problems in the NHS with regards to IT is “dealing with rapidly evolving technology and the implications for the safety of patient data”, NHE has been told. 

Jonathan McKee, governance manager at Tavistock and Portman NHS FT, and a co-chair of the London IG Forum, added that these challenges mean the system will require fundamentally different ways of thinking about “records management and handling information and data securely and safely”. 

Discussing the recent Wachter recommendations to extend the paperless deadline to 2023 for some trusts, McKee argued “it is all a matter of will”. 

“It started off as 2018, then 2020 and then 2023, why not 2025? Why bother at all?” he said. “If this this is the direction of travel, then it is the direction of travel – we can do it in our own good time. If it is imperative that we do it by a certain date then we should stick to the first date. There is no point in having a moving deadline for something that isn’t business critical or a patient safety issue.” 

Effective app assessment 

With regards to evolving technology, McKee spoke specifically about health apps and their exponential growth in the healthcare sector. 

“But what you can’t do is have an infinite number of apps, recommended by an infinite number of clinicians and organisations,” he noted, “without safely managing where is all this data going.” 

Instead, McKee reflected on the Tavistock Health Application Assessment Tool (THAAT), which was first developed at his trust, and then in conjunction with the London IG Forum. THAAT was set up to help inform prospective proposers about the level of risk associated with an application so that organisations can decide how best to proceed. 

At Tavistock no application may be used to process any personal data until it has been approved by the trust, and the organisation’s Information Management and Technology Strategy Board consider a THAAT report in conjunction with the proposal about an app’s features as part of the prospective asset consideration process. 

During the evaluation, the app is assessed and rated in several key areas: purpose; care pathways; evidence; evaluation tools within the application; patient safety; long-term compliance; corporate governance; and, of course, the security of patient data.

A score is presented in each section, and is added to the final total. The tool also automatically allocates a red (high), amber (medium), or green (low) score to each section, and to the assessment as a whole.  

“It is currently the only comprehensive approach that asks all the questions that you would need to ask about an application,” he said. “In the first place you need to decide what the need is for it, so it needs to be clinically viable before you recommend investing your organisation’s resources in setting it up. 

“Then the organisation, as a whole, needs to decide whether this is what it wants to achieve with the app and how the app will work with existing systems. The implications of bringing these apps on-stream are quite vast. Not least, none of the apps link to any of the current health records systems. 

“In summary, you need to know whether the app is going to help you clinically to the extent where you would change your practice and systems to work in a new way. That is quite a big ask. If that’s the case, you need to ask some sensible questions about who owns the app, where the data is kept, and how that links to the clinical record. If you have an answer to those things, and it is all very positive, it might be worth exploring.” 

App information for the NHS as a whole 

Asked whether the message around apps and their assessment from the centre is helping at a local level, McKee added that the “NHS as a whole is still getting to grips with this issue”. 

Speaking in his capacity as a co-chair of the London IG Forum, he noted that there are so many aspects to this issue, the complexity of which is the challenge. 

“There is the clinical aspect to it, the digital aspect to it, and there’s a data aspect to it,” he said. “They all have particular perspectives to consider when you are coming to a view about it, and there are many people engaged in exploring it, but as for the strategic direction, I don’t know where that discussion is being held. There does seem to be a lack of clarity over what the NHS trying to achieve.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Cancer Drugs Fund delivered ‘no meaningful value’ to patients

28/04/2017Cancer Drugs Fund delivered ‘no meaningful value’ to patients

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) set up by David Cameron to pay for medicine for over 100,000 people was not good value for money, despite costing the... more >
Health committee urges DH to draw up plan for post-Brexit uncertainty

28/04/2017Health committee urges DH to draw up plan for post-Brexit uncertainty

The Department of Health (DH) have been told to put contingency plans in place to prepare for the effect that Brexit could have on the health and... more >
STPs will not succeed where BCF has failed, warn MPs

28/04/2017STPs will not succeed where BCF has failed, warn MPs

MPs have slammed the government for the failure of the Better Care Fund (BCF) to achieve any of its objectives, arguing that they are unconvinced... more >

editor's comment

22/03/2017New additions and unexpected announcements

As NHE went to press, many of us were still recovering from the chancellor’s unexpected health announcements in his last Spring Budget.   While the sector welcomed Philip Hammond’s revelations, centered on capital funding for advanced sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) and A&E triage schemes (page 24)... read more >

last word

Foreign patient charges are a distraction from the real issues

Foreign patient charges are a distraction from the real issues

Vivek Kotecha, research officer at the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI), explains why the charging of foreign patients distracts from our home-grown NHS issues.  The Dep... more > more last word articles >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Labour’s pledge to raise wages for ‘underpaid and overworked’ NHS staff

26/04/2017Labour’s pledge to raise wages for ‘underpaid and overworked’ NHS staff

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth will today outline a major campaign pledge to axe the NHS pay cap, saying that staff are “underpaid and overworked”. The change is predicted to cost the NHS around £1bn, however Labour say that this is the price the government should pay to show hardworking NHS staff that they are being appreciated. Speaking at the Unison Health Conference in Liverpool, Ashworth will say: ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

A single approach for purchasing HCTEDs

11/04/2017A single approach for purchasing HCTEDs

Andy Leary, finance director of specialised commissioning (National) at NHS England, discusses the new system for buying and supplying high-cost ... more >
Filling the void and standardising security

07/04/2017Filling the void and standardising security

Jayne King, chair of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) and head of security, portering and reception services at Guy’... more >
Fear barriers to help-seeking in the UK

07/04/2017Fear barriers to help-seeking in the UK

Jon Paxman, 2020health senior researcher, explains why reducing fear barriers may be essential to promoting timely help-seeking, improving health... more >
Considerable scope for improving how local areas tackle smoking

07/04/2017Considerable scope for improving how local areas tackle smoking

Amanda Sandford, information manager at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), discusses the need to strengthen local relationships in tackling smok... more >
LDRs: a critical part of STPs and sharing cross-border learning

04/04/2017LDRs: a critical part of STPs and sharing cross-border learning

Dr Masood Nazir, national clinical lead – digital transformation of general practice at NHS England and information lead & senior infor... more >

interviews

Tight timetable for nursing associate  regulation

28/03/2017Tight timetable for nursing associate regulation

Jackie Smith, chief executive at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), talks to NHE’s David Stevenson about the challenges her organisat... more >
Improving the flow

13/02/2017Improving the flow

Glen Burley, chief executive of South Warwickshire NHS FT, explains how his organisation has been able to improve patient flow through its emerge... more >
Leadership development should be for all in health and care

07/12/2016Leadership development should be for all in health and care

Back in August, Stephen Hart joined Health Education England (HEE) as the organisation’s new director of leadership development, which incl... more >
The powerful link between staff and patient satisfaction

03/10/2016The powerful link between staff and patient satisfaction

David Behan CBE, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), talks to NHE about the correlation between high rates of staff satisfactio... more >
Dame Fiona Caldicott: We’re not quite ready for sharing back-office function on data security

07/07/2016Dame Fiona Caldicott: We’re not quite ready for sharing back-office function on data security

NHE’s David Stevenson talks to Dame Fiona Caldicott following her much-awaited Review of Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs. In the f... more >