Apple, iPhone X and the NHS

Apple, biggest company in the world, announces a new phone:  iPhone X

And what’s the betting that thousands will decide they must have it – at £1,000 a time.
iPhone X release date, specs and price: Face ID fail blamed on clumsy staffers
Forget about the fact we can’t afford the NHS – when it comes to mobile phones, it seems I am the only person who doesn’t have the latest gizmo. Or even want to own one.
Parents who wouldn’t dream of paying for healthcare, will give in to kids’ clamour, and it won’t be long before I will see schoolchildren staring at the latest Apple phone as they walk to the school gate down the road.  Forget about hitting conkers, or kicking leaves, or even chatting to friends – they all progress down the street like miniature zombies.  Apple know this;  they didn’t get to be the biggest company in the world by underestimating what the public will pay for.  Perhaps, if the NHS is going ‘private’,  it might be an idea to get them in to run the service!
On the same day as Apple’s launch, the NHS announced a ‘new innovative IT package’, etc. etc.  The Weasel came out with the classic  every patient will be able to book a GP appointment online.  Wonderful – but what happens when GPs don’t HAVE any appointments free?
The NHS must have hoped their launch would get ‘overlooked’ during the Apple  Press Conference, and save  so many embarrassing questions in informed media such as
  • Why start with the technology, why not start with the people (patients) whom they want to use it?
  • Why is my GP reluctant to let us send a quick query by email, rather than have to hang on the telephone?
  • Technology is all very well, but what exactly are problems that need solving?
  • IT won’t make a poor NHS system better.  First fix the system.  Make it so adjacent Trusts can send images and notes between each other. 
  • Forget about League tables/Outcomes and other Management-speak – is this new IT system what people/patients want?

Why is it that hospitals are unable to communicate between each other? Charing Cross Hospital is a mile away from Chelsea and Westminster.  I phoned the first one to make sure they could send an X-ray over to the other.  Yes, I was told.  So I tell my surgeon at C & W that my hip X-ray is there;  he taps, and taps, but it never comes up.  So I have to resort to old-fashioned going to Charing Cross to get a copy on disc (they tried to charge me £10 – but got short shrift).  Apparently one is in Imperial Trust, the other Chelsea and Westminster, and their IT’s systems can’t wing over an X-Ray one t’other.

The Weasel has all of Whitehall’s expensive IT boffins on tap, yet chooses to announce a ‘new’ system, rather than fixing the current one so it actually WORKS. People tell me the reason why it is so clunky is because decades ago the NHS sent a top delegation over to the States to see what computers were doing there.  Delegates were impressed, so bought the same Hardware.

BUT – and there always is a but – someone in the Dept. Health decided on saving money.  Instead of buying the tried and tested Software, they bought cheap copies – and the rest is a sorry history.  Last time I talked to an IT guru the system had cost £60 BILLION – and rising.

Important 

Splitting hospitals into Trusts, one would imagine something simple like communications would have been sorted.  Imagine if one Apple factory couldn’t communicate with another, or even HQ.  So if big business can do it, why not the NHS which we are all told is one of major employers in the world?

Get a few Teenagers in;  even better still, employ some of the hackers making headlines. Set them in front of NHS computers, and give them a free hand.  Don’t set ‘Targets’ or anything stupid;  just leave them alone to sort out the mess that is the NHS IT system.

Jeremy Hunt needs to address current IT problems

As Roy Lilley says, “There is no question the NHS is behind in the management of information by the use of technology.  Why?
First, the legacy of failure.  There is a huge suspicion that ‘it isn’t going to work’.  The fact is, IT does ‘work’ but making it work, easily, is a different issue.
Some user interfaces have been horrible, clunky and slow-to-load.  Watch how much time some junior doctors spend, waiting for log-in.
Little things like this are big things if you have to struggle with them every day.
Systems that make the outcomes easier to count, but make the work inputting, harder, don’t count… not as an improvement.
What pain are we trying to take out of the working day?  We want people aching to try it not suffering in silence.
People don’t have the time to learn new technologies.  They must be intuitive.  If it doesn’t look like FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and all the rest, forget it”.
 
Staff are net-savvy, shop on-line, book holidays, create Powerpoint, Excel, email and do banking. They have the skills, but how often do you go to see a Consultant, and they spend half your precious allocated time trying to access your records?
COWS worry me
Also known as Computers on Wheels, the machines Nurses wheel around the floor, dispensing medicines, worry me.  I alway wonder if the technology is working.  Perhaps this is the reason why so many patients wait and wait to be discharged.
Staff are being cut and cut;  hence there often isn’t anyone available to pick up medicines from the Pharmacy and take them up to the Ward.  So Gran sits on the edge of her bed, waiting until late at night so she gets her medicines and can go home.
What the Weasel should have done is announce that there is a new way of discharging patients:
  1. Doctor signs off patient.
  2. Nurse alerts Pharmacy by email what medicines Patient needs on Discharge.
  3. Pharmacy sends an email up to Ward to say Discharge Medicines ready for Patient
  4. Nurse contacts Porter, who wheels Patient past Pharmacy to pick up medicines, on way to Transport

Simples!

 Image result for nhs humour
WHAT DO WE WANT TO SPEND OUR MONEY ON?
£1,000 on the latest iPhone?  Or five – seven visits to a senior Consultant, with no wait?
£1,500 – £10,000 on a Designer Handbag?   Or a Cataract op, Hip replacement etc?
£5,000 + on a Long Haul Holiday?  Or money in the bank to pay for umpteen private medical procedures?
Apparently most people think these items are their right – but I prefer my clunky old mobile, and to use money for chance to skip the long, long wait to see someone on the NHS – only to be phoned up week before when appointment gets cancelled, and re-scheduled up to three months hence. Sneaky!

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