O NHS, Thou art Sick

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As everyone knows, the NHS has had major problems with its IT systems. But judging by this blog post from someone with first-hand experience of daily reality there, it looks like the problems go far deeper:

the NHS seems pathologically incapable of seeing the value in social networking, for all of the Government's claims to (a) a commitment to Digital Britain and (b) joined-up thinking. All over the world there are fascinating stories of clinical teams using facebook, twitter or other social media sites to communicate with each other, or with patients or communities. But precious few examples from the UK.

And is it any wonder, when this [.pdf] is the standard of advice that NHS organisations are given about how they should frame their relationship to social media? You know it isn't going to go well when the advice, issued last month from the Department of Health Informatics Directorate, is posed in terms of "Information Governance: Information Risk Management". Oh yeah, communicating with people is a risk. Maybe we should all just stop doing it then?

The guidance says absolutely nothing positive about either blogging or social networking, despite there being significant evidence that healthcare organisations can secure both internal and external benefits from the use by staff of such tools, and instead presents social media purely in terms of risks and dangers

This fear of even minimal openness suggests that the institutional rot is now so deep at the NHS that nothing less than a complete revolution will ever sort things out. I'm not holding my breath.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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