The UK Government has pledged £40 million in funding to cut login times on outdated IT systems across the NHS and save thousands of staffing hours.
At present, NHS staff typically need to login into multiple different systems – as many as 15 – to do their jobs. Not only does the current process take up time, it also requires staff to remember a number of complicated passwords. Potentially, this could push staff towards using one password for multiple accounts, a highly risky cyber practice that compromises security.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “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 funding will be used to help introduce single sign-on systems at hospitals and clinics next year. One Liverpool hospital, Alder Hey, has found that the new system has reduced its login times from one minute 45 seconds to ten seconds.
This reduction in login times has saved the hospital 130 hours a day according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
“I want to harness the best digital technology to improve care for patients and ease the burden on our staff. And, to do that, we need to get the basics right,” Hancock said.
“Too often, outdated technology slows down and frustrates staff and prevents them from giving patients their full attention and the care they deserve.”
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The funding announcement follows a demand by government for the NHS to phase out the use of fax machines this year.
In addition to the login overhaul, the Department of Health and Social Care is also providing £4.5m to local authorities to fund other health initiatives to aid independent living for recipients of adult social care.