Informaticopia

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Challenges to implementing the national programme for information technology (NPfIT): a qualitative study -- Hendy et al. 331 (7512): 331 -- BMJ

Challenges to implementing the national programme for information technology (NPfIT): a qualitative study -- Hendy et al. 331 (7512): 331 -- BMJ

While I was away on holiday this intereesting study was published in the BMJ.

The authors Jane Hendy, Barnaby C Reeves, Andrew Hutchings, and Cristina Masseria, from the Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, describe case studies in four NHS trusts to "describe the context for implementing the national programme for information technology (NPfIT) in England, actual and perceived barriers, and opportunities to facilitate implementation."

The results show "The trusts varied in their circumstances, which may affect their ability to implement the NPfIT. The process of implementation has been suboptimal, leading to reports of low morale by the NHS staff responsible for implementation. The overall timetable is unrealistic, and trusts are uncertain about their implementation schedules. Short term benefits alone are unlikely to persuade NHS staff to adopt the national programme enthusiastically, and some may experience a loss of electronic functionality in the short term."

The authors conclude "The sociocultural challenges to implementing the NPfIT are as daunting as the technical and logistical ones. Senior NHS staff feel these have been neglected. We recommend that national programme managers prioritise strategies to improve communication with, and to gain the cooperation of, front line staff."

I think the study underlines comments several of us have been making for a while that the key to the sucess or failure of NPfIT will be to engage with clinicans in product development and implementation.

Further comment and discussion on this story is available at E-Health Insider

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