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Future Imperfect

Is a man in fluorescent gear riding a mountain bike a suitable metaphor for innovation, information and technology? The Health Service Journal Intelligence supplement* seems to think so.

The HSJ's coverage of such matters is usually low key. This probably reflects the interests of its readers, which is a shame. Mind they did publish one of my articles on healthcare IT which now seems 15 years ahead of its time (!)

The supplement considers Imperial College London's construction of a virtual model of a future NHS in Second Life. I visited the site a couple of years ago to look at a construct of Polyclinics, which was eerily empty at the time. This future world seems locked into current models of care with a general marginalisation of the role of ICT. We need to realise that demographic and epidemiological trends mean that is not sustainable.

The HSJ also considers emergency services, their adequacy and their future--hence the mountain biker. They say they are not as fully integrated into the system as they could be. And this touches a common theme througout the supplement: the benefits of sharing of information and of the integration of ICT into practice--whether by COIN or by joining insular GP systems. That is the future of healthcare.

*18 September 2008


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