Someone's trying to identify the signal from the noise..
The UK's Department of Health hopes to save millions by cutting data collection and red tape across the NHS. A 12-week consultation, launched on Tuesday and due to run until 22 November, aims to pool ideas for plans to slash data collection across the NHS by a quarter (25 per cent), saving an estimated £10m in the process. The …
What will happen to the out-patients staff that spend all day moving patients from the first queue to a second queue so that the waiting times stay within the official limit?
If they're not careful those staff might have to be deployed on, I don't know, actually helping the patients or something equally silly.
You mean they could be deployed to ask the questions:
- have you been to a GP?
- is this really urgent?
- is this really an emergency or have you just got a cold? (just in case the "is this really urgent" question is misunderstood)
If they could get away with these questions without upsetting patients (or more accurately without patients creating negative publicity), hospitals may have a chance of being able to serve the public as designed.
In the meantime, queues to handle the time wasters and non-urgent cases is the approved solution...
This might be a good time not only to check what information should be collected and processed but how it is collected, processed and held.
Armies of clerks might have been the norm in the 1950s but paying highly qualified graduates to tick boxes is not a good use of ward resources. Every delivery service and its dog now automates things, why not the heath delivery 'service'?
The last time I visited as an outpatient the clerk told me she had spent the morning photocopying some table on the back of the paper I was carrying about the place, snag - the table was never used and was thus useless. The doctor filled my details on his computer, what use was, or should have been the paper anyway? The appointments desk should have access to the data subset they needed for any further outpatient activity driven directly from the doctor's input.
Like most Government ideas, they are 'great on grand' but useless on results where they matter, e,g why, (how come?) book an 'urgent' outpatient in on a Bank Holiday Monday only to cancel it five days because of the holiday and delay for another five weeks. Or is that way they keep the (useless) statistics clean?
A former NHS IT manager says
"It seems to me that in the long term more aggregation of data rather than less would make the NHS more efficient"
This is why NHS IT is so terminally ill - because it keeps employing people like David Harley with no imagination and an attachment to dogma that would make a jesuit wince.
Collecting and analysing the right data is important.
Collecting and analysing more data as a blanket policy is not just expensive it is positively dangerous because
a) it tends to make people think they know something that they don't
b) useful knowledge tends to get lost and distorted in a mass of meaningless stats
c) it undermines the confidence of people who are actually qualified to make decisions by second guessing them with ill-informed speculation
And bear in mind that anecdotal information from the right people is of more value than these mass collections of data.
Never let anyone with IT in their job title near an information/data policy.
It's all very well for someone in an ivory tower to say this, but it will never fiter down to the numpties commissioning servies who want providers like us to collect more and more irrelevant data to support 'key performance indices' that they don't care about but are purportedly there to demonstrate their 'world class commissioning' decisions, whereas the only use to which they are really put is to justify swingeing cost-cutting and punitive fines for not meeting these irrelevant targets. And if you think this is bad, just wait until your local GP is trying to commission health services that s/he has no idea about because they aren't based around her/his medical practice...
Rant over. For now. But my quarter-century in the NHS says it'll be more and more data. Every time. Anonymous for obvious reasons (also my commissioning organisation knows I read the Register)
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