Tech players warns health services about using outdated IT

Digital health technology companies have sounded warnings about using outdated computer systems after Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said it takes 17 minutes for her computer to load.

It came to light after her conversation with health and social care secretary Matt Hancock was played aloud to delegates at the Royal College of GP’s conference in Liverpool.

Andrew Brickell, area director at Ivanti, has warned about the potential dangers of using legacy technology within the healthcare industry, describing it as a “recipe for disaster”.

He elaborated, saying: “Windows 7 OS is due to reach End of Life (EOL) in January 2020, meaning that after this date Windows will no longer support this product or provide vital patches to keep the system secure. When you add this to the fact that it was only at the end of last year that the NHS was banned from purchasing any more fax machines, which are impossible to patch, the situation only generates more fear.

“A dependency on legacy technology is a dangerous game to play as it leads to the risk of cyberattacks. These could come in the form of the breach of sensitive, personal data belonging to the public, leaving the organisation liable for a hefty GDPR fine. Additionally, with a cyberattack often comes a damaging IT outage, a situation that the NHS has been in before. Think back to the WannaCry attack of 2017, which saw over 19,000 appointments and operations cancelled with devastating effect over the course of a week-long IT outage. This cost the NHS £20 million directly and £72 million during the aftershock.

“An IT outage is not that only way that patients can be affected by poor IT used by the NHS. It’s unacceptable that log in times are as long as 17 minutes when you think about how much time doctors are wasting each day – especially if they have to move around and log in and out of different PCs. Healthcare is a critical industry so anything that is impacting patient care should be heavily assessed and improved where necessary.”

Matt Smith, director of public sector, UK&I, Citrix feels that web conferencing technology, meeting software and cloud-based technology could all help ease the pressure on GP services.

He said: “Unfortunately, the majority of GPs across the UK still rely on aging, PC-based estates, and face common stresses such as waiting to log on to the only available PC, or discovering that a given PC can’t run the application they need. The simple fact is that GPs are often too busy to complain. For them, it’s “just the way it is.”

“If shared NHS services became more tightly coordinated via a secure, centralised, digital workspace, decisions could be made more efficiently – empowering GPs to deliver a faster, more effective service whilst significantly reducing costs for the GP practice.”




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