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West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS trust is planning to invest £67m in an information management and technology (IM&T) strategy over the next five years.

A spokeswoman for the trust told Guardian Government Computing that the board in approving the plan noted "that where capital funding is required to progress the workstreams, business cases would be developed to support investment decisions".

A trust board paper says the strategy will be implemented in six workstreams. The first, costing £900,000, covers IM&T governance, programme management and organisation. It will include a review of the structure of the existing IM&T department.

The second, costing £2.8m, will focus on improving service management, while the third, with a £23m value, will cover the provision of end-user devices. It is intended to increase the security and resilience of LAN and WAN network services and ensure adequacy of support for a more mobile, agile workforce.

Other workstreams are a £21m investment in clinical systems, including replacing the existing patient administration and InfoFlex systems; £2m for better knowledge management; and £100,000 to make more effective use of non-clinical systems.

"The majority of the projects, whilst containing significant IM&T elements are fundamentally transformational in nature," the board paper says.

"The introduction of technology will involve changes to ways of working and the delivery of patient care, resulting in a more effective, efficient and clinically safe practice. A programme of clinical engagement and change management will be included within the outline business case for a proposed electronic patient record system."

The strategy is intended to implement the trust's digital hospital environment vision statement, which sets out how new technologies should be used to promote agile working and service transformation, as well as reducing paper and administrative costs.

The digital hospital environment says that "agile working will be underpinned by mobile, wireless technology to improve timeliness, patient safety and efficiency".

It also sets out that patient communications will be standardised and centralised, while channels of communication with patients will be expanded to include SMS, email and social media.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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