Survey finds doctors doubt NHS IT revamp

The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) is defending its ITrestructuring program after a new survey found doctors in clinicswere not well informed and had little enthusiasm about it.

The study, conducted by the research company Medix UK PLC andreleased Tuesday, was commissioned by several publications,including the Guardian and the Financial Times.

Medix has conducted six surveys since 2003 gauging physicianssentiment toward the IT program.

The research company reported that 1,329 doctors responded. Thesurvey noted among its findings that two years ago, 56 percent ofgeneral practitioners and 75 percent of other doctors were fairlyenthusiastic about Department of Health’s National Program for IT(NPfIT). Those figures, according to the latest survey, havedropped to 26 and 45 percent, respectively.

Only 38 percent of general practitioners now agree that the ITprogram is an important priority, down from 67 percent three yearsago, the study said.

In a statement on its Web site, the NHS said Medix inevitablypicked out the most negative items in its overview. The agency saidit has been strengthening links with professional bodies throughclinical advisory groups and attends conferences to increasecommunication on its initiatives.

The NHS said there is usually a “dip in confidence” in new ITprograms, but confidence rises with familiarity. The agency notedparts of the survey were also positive, such as the view of 59percent of general practitioners and 66 percent of hospital doctorsthat clinical care will be significantly improved by NPfIT.

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