Hunt hires US doctor to review digital innovation in NHS

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has enlisted the help of US doctor and IT specialist Professor Bob Wachter for a second opinion on the NHS’ digital strategy.

Wachter is the author of ‘The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype & Harm at Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age’ and a highly respected authority on the use of emerging technology in healthcare.


A critical eye

Professor Wachter’s book contains a healthy dose of scepticism for certain elements of digital developments in healthcare, saying that in the worst eventuality, some clinicians have effectively been reduced to ‘data entry clerks’.

His review will come in addition to that of the internet entrepreneur Baroness Martha Lane Fox, who is already looking into innovation in digital health for the government, to ensure the poorest and most vulnerable patients can benefit from new technology.

Baroness Lane Fox’s review is due for completion by the end of the year.


What have we learned?

A spokesperson for the DoH told UK Authority that the terms of reference and timescale for the review are still to be finalised, but that it is expected to be delivered some time next year.

“It’s going to look at how NHS trusts have used IT systems, the successes and failures and what has been learned,” he said.

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