NHS 'paperless roadmap': Fewer dead trees, more data control

Hold on a sec. We've heard this one before

NHS Digital, the body formerly known as HSCIC, has released a roadmap for the government's long in the tooth paperless health service plan.

Contained in its board minute papers was an overview of its paperless plans for 2020, include a map of its portfolio of "key outcomes and ministerial commitments."

Part of the strategy involves a 'patient opt out app'. No further detail was provided as to what that might entail but presumably it is something to do with patients not wanting their information to be shared with third parties.

A paperless NHS has long been a sought after goal for the government. Back in January 2013, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the NHS should go paperless by 2018, saving £4.4bn.

That same plan was the was re-announced last year, with 2020 named as the momentous date.

The "does what it says on the tin" plan intends to eradicate the use of paper in the treatment of patients across all health and care services by 2020.

Back in February, National Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised a £4.2bn investment to "bring the NHS into the digital age," part of an attempt once again by the department to force the service to go paperless.

Other plans included an update on the NHS' investment of £1bn for free Wi-Fi across all hospitals, with plans to bring that into force by 2019 across the NHS Estate.

It included an update on the much-delayed NHS Mail 2 programme for September 2017.

The NHS also aims to allow citizens to upload wearable and tele-health information into their care records by March 2019.

Needless to say, the scrapped Care.data did not appear on the roadmap. However, questions remain as to whether the scheme's demise has been been greatly exaggerated.

Phil Booth, coordinator of campaign group medConfidential said: "The Secretary of State [for Health Jeremy Hunt] will soon have to make a decision. Will he demonstrate to patients how their wishes have been honoured?

"He offered patients a chance to opt out of their hospital data being sold, and 2 per cent of the country took him up on that offer. Is the continued sale of those patients’ most private information acceptable, or is he going to put a stop to it?"

NHS England recently published a job advertisement for a director of digital experience with a £131,000 salary, part of a major digital rebrand of the health service. ®

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