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« on: July 28, 2005, 09:16:22 PM »

Employing almost one million people (or around 780,000 WTE),the NHS is the biggest single employer in the country. 

Alistair provides some useful examples of the use of handheld technology in the emergency services, however the picture, certainly in the NHS, is patchy. A survey was released earlier this week by the Royal College of Nursing (see Informaticopia piece for references & discussion http://www.rodspace.co.uk/blog/2005/07/nurses-bypassed-by-nhs-it-projects.html) showing how little nurses use technology or are involved in it's development and implementation and that many (including district nurses and others for whom handheld applications would be extremely useful) are sharing access to a PC at their base site with up to 20 or 30 other staff. In this situation using mobile technology to provide learning opportunities is still a pipedream.

The position in relation to computerised decision support systems may be a little more positive with the announcement (also this week) that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is working with Connecting for Health (CfH, formerly the National Programme for Information Technology) to undertake a pilot study to develop methods for evaluating computerised decision support systems (CDSS). (http://www.rodspace.co.uk/blog/2005/07/nice-to-assess-feasibility-of.html for more).

The sensitive nature of a lot of the information related to health and emergency services can also act as a break on the role out of new technologies, and current debates about ownership and rights of access to health data need to be resolved (social & moral aspects, not just technical) before real benefits will be obtained.
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2005, 01:25:27 PM »

Reading to catch up on discussions has its advantages.  One post states that handhelds suffer from socioeconomic barriers and another indicates that privacy issues on data still needs to be conquered. 
  To me the issue is control.  Handhelds offer the potential to create a system and cycle of information rather than to "offer" information.  It is at this point that we stall as a system is foreign to our concepts.  A system which is open changes our whole method of process and delivery.  It also requires that those using the system be capable to both utilize as well as input in a reliable manner.   
  The answer to that problem is the age old one, education.  The current education system, however, is threatened by a system that is readily available and user friendly.  The answer is small, user specific "communities" breaking the larger system apart until society can reform its own institutions. 

BA Stefany
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