New infrastructure, systems to be top IT priority for NHS in 2013

A recent report from EHI Intelligence, titled "The View from the Shop Floor," reveals that nearly 70 percent of acute NHS trusts say their main IT priority for 2013 is to deliver new infrastructure. Pursuing more patient-centered investments in health IT, nearly 50 percent of respondents saying their trust is looking to implement an EHR or portal solution.

“The report shows increased optimism among respondents compared with last year," said Lindsay Bell, the report's author. "Although their trusts are still facing financial pressures, they expect these to be less severe than last year, with only 17 percent of those who responded to the 2012 survey expecting their overall trust budget to fall by more than 20 percent, compared to 37 percent last year."

Bell noted that this optimism applies to IT departments. Fewer respondents are predicting an average reduction in IT budgets this year.

Trust boards are becoming more influential in approval of IT strategies and business cases for investments, the survey found.

"In the future, suppliers will have to show that their products can deliver a significant return on investment within a short timescale,” said Bell.

"There is no doubt that the NHS has a difficult road ahead," said Jon Hoeksma, editor of the UK-based E-Health Insider. "However, the results of this year's survey indicate those working on the IT shop floor are less concerned about the journey than they were last year. There's also clear evidence that trust IT departments are being protected from the worst, by boards and clinicians who increasingly 'get' the need to invest to make the bigger changes ahead."