Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the money will help deliver ‘the most basic frontline technology upgrades’ to staff using outdated systems
Health chiefs are to spend £40million cutting the time doctors and nurses waste logging on to computers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the money will help deliver ‘the most basic frontline technology upgrades’ to staff using outdated systems.
In October, the head of the Royal College of GPs told him that it took her up to 17 minutes to log in to her surgery computer each day.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said she was still using the Windows 7 operating system.
Mr Hancock replied that such delays she endured were ‘totally outrageous’.
Yesterday, he said: ‘Too often, outdated technology slows down and frustrates staff, and prevents them from giving patients their full attention and the care they deserve.
‘It is frankly ridiculous how much time our doctors and nurses waste logging on to multiple systems.
‘As I visit hospitals and GP practices around the country, I’ve lost count of the amount of times staff complain about this.
‘It’s no good in the 21st century having 20th century technology at work.
‘This investment is committed to driving forward the most basic frontline technology upgrades, so treatment can be delivered more effectively and we can keep pace with the growing demand on the NHS.’
In October, the head of the Royal College of GPs told him that it took her up to 17 minutes to log in to her surgery computer each day (file image)
The funding is part of a pot of money already announced for the Health Service.
Staff currently have to sign in to up to 15 computer systems each of which requires individual details.
Busy staff have to remember multiple passwords – or pose a security risk by using the same one across all their systems.
The investment aims to build on the success of Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, which introduced technology requiring just a single sign-on for multiple systems.
Up to four concurrent users can work on a shared computer after switching rapidly to their profile. The time spent logging on has been cut to under ten seconds from as long as two minutes.
Health officials hope to be able to reduce the dependence on passwords by using alternative methods such as fingerprints or smartcards.
Matthew Gould of NHSX, the unit responsible for the Health Service’s digital transformation, said: ‘If you work in the NHS, the tech should not be getting in the way of your ability to do your job.
‘Tech should be something you rarely think about because it just works. Today’s announcements mean we can start to tackle one of the biggest gripes staff have with their tech.
‘It will allow staff across the NHS to spend more time with their patients and less time fighting their computers.’
Mr Hancock also announced £4.5million for local councils to develop digital social care projects to help vulnerable and elderly people live independently in their own homes for longer.
The money will fund pilot trials of artificial intelligence software linked to sensors to monitor sleep patterns and behaviour.
The technology could assess how dementia sufferers use kitchen equipment or walk around a house – and raise the alarm if abnormal movements are spotted.
Mr Hancock said all health providers – from mental health trusts to care homes – will have their use of technology assessed by the Care Quality Commission to ensure they meet minimum standards.
The Health Secretary has pledged to banish pagers and fax machines from hospitals and championed smartphone apps and digital health innovations since being appointed to his role 18 months ago.