“…for me and us at the Charity delivery is everything because delivery is what makes the difference to people whether they’re living with diabetes or whether they’re living with cancer or other chronic conditions. But I just wanted to use an example of a story, we always talk about Patients and we always use Patients stories, but this is a Patient story with a difference because it starts with a dog, and I guess it illustrates the benefit of this and why we just absolutely have to just get on with this. My story starts with when my dog Charlie, who is a black CockaPoo and absolutely lovely, he woke up one Sunday morning not feeling very well and we had to take him to the Vet and it was a Sunday morning so we rang the Vet and he said I haven’t got a slot today but it’s okay there’s a Vet 3 miles away from where you live you can take Charlie to so we go up to Belsize Park in London which is near to where we live and by the time we got there Charlies data was with the Vet and the Vet was easily able to identify that Charlie had had this problem prior to this, identify what we needed and we left with a prescription and by the time we took Charlie back to our normal Vet a week later the loop had been closed and the data was back to the Vet in Highbury so happy dog and very happy Husband because that’s his pride and joy. 24 hours after Charlie was ill we had to take my daughter Bella, who has a very long history of mental health issues and had just been transferred from Secondary Care back to Primary Care after a 6 month inPatient experience and all we needed was a repeat prescription of the medication that she is on. So we went to the Doctors and the GP didn’t have access to very much information for our daughter and didn’t have the details of what she needed and it’s quite hard for a 15 year old to have to sit there while you talk about her mental health issues and what’s been happening to her and she was very upset and it was really upsetting for her and I thought the timing of those two instances does illustrate we’re doing it for dogs, and I know there’s a difference in Payment methods and everything like that, but if we’re doing it for dogs we’ve just got to do it for humans haven’t we? And if we hold that true and remember that then actually we’ve just got to get on with it”
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of the Macmillan Cancer Support, talking today on a “Personalised Health and Care 2020: how best to put technology to work for the benefit of patients and citizens” panel on the “Future NHS Stage” at the NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester.
Having lived and worked in a Veterinary Surgery long before I went to Medical School the existence of this huge disconnect doesn’t surprise me at all but the confusion that lies around why it’s happening is quite scary when you appreciate that Lynda Thomas is leading a charity focused on the care of Cancer Patients that raises over £100 Million/year.
Taking an informed guess I imagine Charlie was seen at Village Vet (founded by Brendan Robinson this group refer OOH calls from their smaller clinics into their Hospital in Belsize Terrace Hampstead and have been using electronic health records across their practices for at least 10 years) but most Vets in the UK have been using EHRs of some sort for at least a decade (eg. as far back as 1995 I remember if you came into the clinic I worked in but were the registered client of another clinic under different ownership the Vet would automatically have a nurse or receptionist look up the usual Vet in the RVC register and send them a fax to update their records) not because of payment methods but because it’s the right thing to do, because private sector Vets have good Professional Practice guidance and have aligned business agendas that benefit from reciprocal good will.
The NHS isn’t sharing information because the Patient isn’t the customer. Huge financial influences (the UK Veterinary industry never had a $22Billion National Programme for IT focused on documenting Hospital care) have been a life line that has fuelled the growth of tiers of non-Carers who will all have their own vested interests in holding on as tight as they can to their control of Patient data. Common excuses that you’ll hear wheeled out might range from a lack of vision, lame out of date excuses about privacy concerns, lack of time to do anything but try and work harder, a lack of aligned interests, because they’ve always done it that way, etc.
Experience with Veterinary care has helped me develop a good sniff test: if something doesn’t exist in Veterinary Medicine but you find it in Human Medicine you should ask yourself why and you’ll probably find that it’s about smoke and mirrors and has nothing to do with providing care or getting better outcomes for Patients.
Do you think the Veterinary industry has huge Innovation Expos branded by government funded organisations that Vet Clinic Managers travel to and pay hundreds of pounds to attend? Do you think Veterinary administration staff sit about listening to panelists talking about NHS best practices before wandering about in exhibition halls looking at offerings from government funded startup tech vendors?
How Mobile First Clinical Trials and Ratings will transform the $100B Clinical Research Industry (Laurie Becklund: LA Times: As I lay dying and ‘Treat me like a statistic and save my life’ Medicine X Talk)