Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, shares his reflections on the effect of opening up health data for government in a blog post for Health Data Consortium.
This follows his appearance as a keynote speaker at the Health Datapalooza conference in June. Datapalooza is an annual US conference that features the most innovative and effective uses of health data by companies, government and others.
Jeremy Hunt writes:
“I am determined to transform the way our National Health Service uses its wealth of untapped data to improve quality of care, to drive down costs and to give patients control over their own care.
“…patients can already choose which hospital they want to treat them. But without clear, high quality data, that choice is meaningless. With that information, however, competition will drive innovation throughout the system.”
“for data to be open, it has to be electronic. Paper records are unwieldy, can only ever be in one place at a time and are easily lost. I was impressed when I heard at Datapolooza that up to 80% of US hospitals already use electronic health records.”
Jeremy Hunt picks out a good example in this country “that show what is possible”, for example:
“University Hospitals Birmingham, which offers its patients full online access to their medical records. It also has a new e-prescribing system which in just a year has already saved as many as 100 lives by drastically reducing prescribing errors.”
He goes on to reiterate his challenge to the NHS:
“I have challenged the rest of the NHS to catch up and go paperless by 2018. And if some can do it, all can do it, and every patient will benefit.”
You can read the full blog on the Health Data Consortium website.