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RCN Scotland: more e-health investment needed

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland has criticised the level of investment in NHSScotland's eHealth strategy, deeming it to be "patchy".

The comments were made ahead of the publication of the second eHealth strategy for NHS Scotland.

The strategy sets out the Scottish Government's vision for eHealth for 2017 and has been described as "ambitious" with the citizen "at the centre".

"Rather than focusing on products and technology, we will instead look to the benefits and outcomes experienced by the people of Scotland flowing from eHealth enabled service re-design and quality improvements," writes Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, in the eHealth Strategy 2011 - 2017 report, published today (12 September).

Under the new strategy, five new eHealth aims have been developed. Information and technology should be co-ordinated to:

  • Maximise efficient working practices, minimise wasteful variation, bring about measurable savings and ensure value for money;
  • Support people to communicate with the NHSS, manage their own health and wellbeing, and to become more active participants in the care and services they receive;
  • Contribute to care integration and to support people with long term conditions;
  • Improve the availability of appropriate information for healthcare workers and the tools to use and communicate that information effectively to improve quality; and
  • Improve the safety of people taking medicines and their effective use.

Theresa Fyffe, Director of the RCN Scotland, welcomes the launch of the strategy but claims more investment is required.

"The initial investment required means that progress with eHealth across Scotland has been patchy up until this point," said Fyffe.

"As such, the strategy being launched today is to be welcomed and we look forward to seeing it being fully implemented and properly resourced.

"Now is the time to make sure that all patients from across Scotland benefit from new technology and, in particular, that clinical staff have a readily accessible 'dash board' system to monitor clinical data so that patients benefit from the best possible care."

By the end of 2014, NHSScotland is expected to make 'significant progress' across all five strategic areas. At this point the strategy will be reviewed and refreshed to concur with the next Spending Review, and deliverables for 2017 will be developed.

We asked if you agree that more eHealth investment is required. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Yes, very much so. I look to Scotland as the leaders in this and am thoroughly excited to see practical reasoning applied to improve pt outcomes and care and reduce costs simultaneously - good luck to all involved" - Claire McGuigan, Northern Ireland