U.K. Health System Expected To Abandon E-Health Network

Government officials in the United Kingdom are expected to announce next month that they will cancel plans to create a centralized database of electronic health records, the London Independent reports.

Report Questions Efficacy of Program

The move follows a report from the House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee that said the network is "beyond the capacity of the Department of Health to deliver."

Margaret Hodge -- chair of the committee -- said, "The department has been unable to demonstrate what benefits have been delivered from the £2.7 billion [$4.4 billion] spent on the project so far."

The committee cited leadership issues in the department and a failure to include health professionals in decision making positions (Wright, London Independent, 8/3). The report also criticized contracts the government awarded to vendors (Versel, InformationWeek, 8/4).

The EHR program is a central component of the U.K.'s £11.4 billion, or $18.7 billion, national health IT program, known as NHS Connecting for Health.

Under the program, every patient was supposed to get an electronic file to be used when they were treated in NHS (Triggle, BBC News, 8/2).

Moving Forward

NHS officials will follow recommendations from the report and allow local health officials to have more flexibility in choosing and implementing health IT systems (InformationWeek, 8/4).

Local officials will be able to develop or purchase individual systems based on their needs, and a smaller server will provide centralized patient data.

Meanwhile, the government is working with vendors on contract issues and trying to avoid legal action, according to the Independent (London Independent, 8/3).

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