Do You Have the Slowest Computer Login in the NHS?

Nicky Broyd

Disclosures

January 07, 2020

The NHS in England is starting a £40m project to speed up IT systems so slow they're described by Health Secretary Matt Hancock as "frankly ridiculous". 

Last October Medscape UK reported on how Mr Hancock was surprised by former GP leader Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard's sluggish NHS PC. Speaking at the Royal College of GPs' (RCGP) annual conference in Liverpool she told him how her Windows 7 practice computer took her 17 minutes to boot up each morning.

NHS England's technology arm NHSX polled staff about their technology frustrations and slow, unreliable hardware and long logins were in first and second place.

 

https://twitter.com/NHSX/status/1123965618057646080

 

 

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has found doctors and other NHS staff may have to sign in to as many as 15 different systems – all with different usernames and passwords.

It hopes the new investment will free up thousands of hours a day as well as guard against cyber security risks.

Liverpool Leading the Way

DHSC wants more single sign-on login systems like the one at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool where time logging into multiple systems has been cut from 1 minute 45 seconds to 10 seconds and, it's estimated has saved more than 130 staff hours.

The new 'logins project' sets out to:

  • Work with IT system suppliers to standardise logins and provide alternative authentication methods, such as finger print readers

  • Make sure local NHS trusts give staff the right access they need to systems for patient care

  • Integrate local and national systems to better support staff

  • Link social care systems to NHS ones for routine care and easier hospital admission procedures

Include meeting minimum technology standards as part of Care Quality Commission inspections

Technology Enthusiast

Mr Hancock has always championed technology such as artificial intelligence as a way to improve patient care. This has often been greeted with scepticism by doctors as they wait for old, slow computers to boot up.

In a statement he concedes: "We need to get the basics right. Too often, outdated technology slows down and frustrates staff, and prevents them from giving patients their full attention and the care they deserve.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."

The Chief Executive of NHSX, Matthew Gould, added: "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."

How Slow?

So how slow is your computer system? Please let us know by answering the questions below in our reader poll:

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