Will An Anti-Innovation Culture In The NHS Kill Off Technological Progress?

Dick Vinegar | Data Management Hub | June 10, 2014

Hackday system has best chance of overcoming bureaucratic regulatory process that stops apps getting traction they need

Two years ago, I came across a great new way of writing healthcare software at an NHS hackday. The idea behind a hackday is that clinicians and software writers decide on an app for solving a "real-ward" problem; design and write it within 24 hours.

This disrupts the traditional way of writing hospital software, where administrators give a series of Chinese whispers to systems analysts in an intergalactic software house possibly on the other side of the Atlantic. The systems analysts transmit further Chinese whispers to a set of programmers who have no idea what happens in an NHS hospital. The resulting system overruns by several years, costs millions and proves to be non-implementable by nurses and doctors on the ward.

The hackday system has a better chance of success, because the clinician is at the heart of the design process. The system is designed to be tweaked; if it does not work, it can be binned, and because it is written in open source, it can be latched on to mainstream systems...