Thursday, 29 December 2016

Barcodes in the NHS - I'm mystified, tell me I'm wrong.

"Barcodes are going to be used in the NHS" has been a headline story on the TV today and in the press.  Now I've had more than my fair share of NHS treatment over the years and I completely support harnessing the potential of barcode use.

I'd also like a barcode to be issued to me the moment I enter the A&E carpark, yes the carpark, and that then tracks how long it takes until I leave with a hopefully a smiley face - shouldn't waiting time be reported from the time I arrive on site, shouldn't there be something which sets aside hospital carparking fees when the cause has been NHS queuing inefficiency?

However, back to the real world, what struck me with the TV coverage of the story was that the practitioners were not emphasising patient tracking, risk management and accountability, but stock control! Stock control?

I am absolutely mystified, that after so many 'cost down' initiatives in the NHS, we are being led to believe that it is only now barcodes are being piloted in stock control. Let's remember barcodes were introduced in the 1970s. The news coverage suggests a pilot NOT a rollout, mind you.

I would really like to be reassured that basic good practice stock control and purchasing, including the use of barcodes, has been practiced for years and that the news coverage is misleading?  I'd like to understand, and have a darn good explanation why barcodes haven't been used and I'd like someone to explain why the potential cost benefits have been missed?  If the news coverage is correct, and barcodes are not widely used, I would like to understand the NHS strategy for Innovation transfer? In fact, could someone explain to me who will give an explantation why the Government's 2008 white paper on innovation doesn't seem to have been performance managed?

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