Medical records via Google or Microsoft?

Medical records via Google or Microsoft?

Would a Conservative government dump the hugely expensive plan to digitise NHS patient records – and hand the job over to private firms like Google or Microsoft?

That’s certainly the suggestion in a couple of newspapers this morning. But is that really Tory policy, does the private sector want the job, and would it work?

Computer keyboardWhat’s under discussion is the NHS National Programme for IT – or more specifically the Care Records Service – which is being introduced in England.

Last year the National Audit Office warned that the whole project was over-budget and years behind schedule, with the total cost to the taxpayer running at £12.7bn and rising.

So are the Conservatives really going to call in Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault – systems in use in the United States – and get them to do the job for a lot less money?

Not yet, a press officer told me, but they are looking at a review they’ve commissioned from a panel of experts which has been considering what to do about the NHS IT project.

And a further hint that there was something to the story came this morning at an event called Reboot Britain, convened to discuss radical ways of using technology to rewire politics and the delivery of public services.



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