The E-Health Insider reports on a new fund for NHS Innovation
Health minister Lord Darzi has unveiled a package of measures to encourage and spread innovation in the NHS.
The Department of Health is creating a Â£20m prize fund to encourage people working inside and outside the NHS to combat â€œthe key health issues facing the nation.â€
It is also creating a Â£220m fund to distribute money to strategic health authorities to encourage the spread of innovation over the next five years.
DH information says: â€œThe funds will focus largely on promoting innovation in healthcare delivery, health improvement and patient engagement rather than the development of new medicines or devices, for which funds are already available.â€
While this is very unlikely to result in amazing innovations, there is hope for ‘open standards, open data’ reforms for the NHS. Referring to “Information Technology” and the NHS in the same sentence is a poor joke for UK taxpayers. Projects have uniformly been failures – partially due to lack of experience of massive scale deployments of technology and a dependence on certain proprietary technologies which have scalability issues. Part of the reasons for the failings seem to be the precious need for security of our medical data.
One of the things bothering me about the “security” of NHS data is that it always seems stored in one central location (which is then burned to DVD and left in a taxi somewhere). Pardon me but I’d like to keep my own medical records on a USB dongle on my set of keys so that if something happens to me, it’s easily viewable. It would be an easy and cheap way of storing records. Add a bit of digital rights management (rather than trying to lock away our MP3s) and you’ve got a solution that will please most of the people most of the time. If I lose it, it’s just my records not mine and those of a thousand others. And this solution is used in other countries in Europe. Why are we so scared of it?
This solution isn’t innovative, it’s just sense. It’s not going to need hundreds of millions to implement.