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The world's most digital health service
The secretary of state has announced that by 2018 the NHS will be paperless. So the digital revolution is coming, but what does it really mean?
Here is the full text of the official press release.
The government aims to reform the NHS completely, replacing outmoded analogue clinical practices and management processes with efficient digital ways of working. By 2018, existing institutions such as hospitals and GP surgeries will no longer exist in physical premises, but will be entirely cloud based.
Not only will this result in much more convenient services for patients who will be able to access the entire NHS from their computers or smartphones, it will enable valuable NHS estate to be sold off and put to new uses as theme parks, hypermarkets and luxury retirement villages for GPs and hospital consultants.
At the end of the five year analogue to digital conversion period, the rebranded iNHS will be run from a secure, failsafe server farm in London’s Docklands with additional capacity provided by mirror sites in California, Beijing and Stoke on Trent.
The white paper Faster, Cheaper, Smaller, Neater: Digitising the NHS sets out the benefits of a fully digital health service, including:
• Unlimited capacity and processing power – no more overcrowded wards or waiting lists.
• Built-in obsolescence – new and better models of healthcare will be available all the time, providing more choice for patients and opportunities for innovation by the private sector. Each time the NHS wears out, it can be replaced with a cool new version with even more pointless features.
• Cloud-based virtual storage – means that if anything goes wrong during treatment, such as death – clinical staff can revert to a saved copy of the patient. Useful for training junior doctors.
• New human compression algorithms – allowing patients to be digitised as well as their records. Soon it will be possible for a civil servant to store the entire population on a memory stick and leave it on a bus.
• Downloadable operations or ‘ops’ – users will be able to visit the iNHS OpStore and get the DIY procedure they need. Everything from mole removal (79p) to quadruple bypass heart surgery (£20,000) at the touch of a button. A surgeon avatar provides step by step, easy to follow instructions in an authentically condescending synthesised voice.
A government spokesman said: “We’re excited about the future - and surveys suggest that more people than ever would like to experience it.
"For decades we have been trying different versions of the analogue NHS without success. We commissioned an exhaustive multimillion pound study which concluded that the health service simply isn’t digital enough.
"That's why the government is committed to making the NHS the most digital health service in the world.”
Further reading (nerds only): the DH has published a glossary of health-related digital terms.