‘The biggest computer programme in the world…ever!’: time for a change in mindset?
- 72 Downloads
In this paper we offer a critique of ‘The National Programme for Information Technology’ (NPfIT) currently being undertaken in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. We begin by offering a brief introduction to the project. Next, we review the lessons learned from a wide range of experience with IT and business change projects and comment on why changes in the NHS are likely to be harder than in most other organizations. We then elaborate the implications of these ideas and identify potential areas for change, with particular focus on the current guiding mindset that this project is about the provision of a technical infrastructure. We argue that this is, thus far, a technology project and question whether the current strategy is the most appropriate way forward to achieve service improvements. We suggest changes in the underlying mindset, along with the leadership, ownership, metrics and labelling of the project.
KeywordsIT business change mindsets National Health Service
The authors would like to thank Frank Land, Malcolm Peltu and Tom Stewart for their advice and comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
- Alter, S. (2006). The Work System Method: Connecting People, Processes and IT for Business Results, Larkspur, CA: Work System Press.Google Scholar
- Berry, M. (2004). Facing NHS Problems Head-on, Personnel Today [WWW document] http://www.personneltoday.com/Articles/2004/08/10/25041/facing-nhs-problems-head-on.html (accessed 6th April 2007).
- Bevan, H. (1996). Managing Today while Creating Tomorrow: The paradox of a re-engineering journey. Working article HWP 9630, Henley Management Group, Henley, UK.Google Scholar
- Brennan, S. (2005). The NHS IT Project: The Biggest Computer Programme in the World…Ever’, Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
- British Computer Society Health Informatics Forum (2006). The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics, London: British Computer Society.Google Scholar
- Checkland, P. (1999). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice: Includes a 30 year Retrospective, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Connecting for Health (2005). A Guide to the National Programme for Information Technology [PDF document] http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/publications/brochures/npfit_brochure_ap_05_final.pdf (accessed 6th April 2007).
- Currie, W.L. and Guah, M.W. (2007). A National Program for IT in the Organizational Field of Healthcare: A example of conflicting institutional logics, Journal of Information Technology 22 (3), in press.Google Scholar
- Draka, M., Sadun, R. and Van Reenen, J. (2006). Productivity and ICT: A review of the evidence. Discussion paper No. 749, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics, London.Google Scholar
- Goldratt, E.M. and Cox, J. (1984). The Goal. New York: North River Press.Google Scholar
- Gibbs, W.W. (1997). Taking Computers to Task, Scientific American 277 (July): 64–71.Google Scholar
- Hammer, M. and Champy, J. (1993). Re-engineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. London: Nicholas Brierley Publishing.Google Scholar
- Hawkes, N. (2007). Disillusioned Doctors Say Labour Decade of Reform has Failed NHS, The Times. 19th February [WWW document] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article1403738.ece (accessed 6th April 2007).
- Healthspace, [WWW document] https://www.healthspace.nhs.uk/ (accessed 6th April 2007).
- House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (2007). Department of Health: The National Programme for IT in the NHS, London: The Stationery Office Ltd.Google Scholar
- Kling, A. (2006). Solow Paradox Revisited. [WWW document] http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2006/01/solow_paradox_r.html (accessed 09.04.2007).
- Landauer, T.K. (1995). The Trouble With Computers, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- McLoughlin, I. and Harris, M. (1997). Innovation, Organizational Change and Technology, London: International Thomson Business Press.Google Scholar
- NHS England, [WWW document] www.nhs.uk (accessed 6th April 2007).
- Norman, D. (1998). The Post Disciplinary Revolution [WWW document] http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/hfes-id-talk.htm (accessed 30th June, 2002).
- Norton, J. (2006). Quoted in The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics, A report on behalf of the British Computer Society (BCS) by the BCS Health Informatics Forum Strategic Panel, 15.12.2006.Google Scholar
- Rollerson, A. (2007). Lost? The Times. 6th February, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Slideshow/slideshowContentFrameFragXL.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/12/nhs/nhspix.xml&site=_-_by_Andrew_Rollerson_.286_Feb_2007.29 (accessed 6th April 2007).
- Royal Academy of Engineering and British Computer Society (2004). The Challenges of Complex IT Projects – The report of a working group from The Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Computer Society, London.Google Scholar
- Royal College of Nursing (2006). Nurses and NHS IT developments – Results of an online survey by Nursix.com on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing [PDF document] http://www.rcn.org.uk/publications/pdf/nurses_and_NHS_IT_developments_survey_2006.pdf (accessed 6th April 2007).
- Solow, R.M. (1987). We’d Better Watch Out, New York Times, July 12th, Book Review.Google Scholar
- Willcocks, L. and Grint, K. (1997). Reinventing the Organization? Towards a critique of business process re-engineering, in I. McLoughlin and M. Harris (eds.) Innovation, Organizational Change and Technology, London: International Thompson Business Press, pp. 87–110.Google Scholar