NHS IT must spend a fortune to save a fortune, says McKinsey

Just a paltry £8bn needed over the next five years

The NHS must bolster its IT budget by up to £8.3bn over the next five years – in order to produce savings of possibly £13.7bn, said the management consultancy McKinsey.

Get this right and the prize is huge; the £30bn NHS funding shortfall – estimated at £30bn by 2020-21 – could be cut by a quarter. But, get it wrong ...

The figures are revealed in an April 2014 McKinsey report for the NHS which was obtained by Spinwatch using a Freedom of Information Act request.

The pressure group in turn sent the report, entitled "Modelling the potential of digitally-enabled processes, transparency and participation in the NHS” to Digital Health News, and the scoop is here.

You can read the McKinsey NHS report in full, but to summarise, two broad themes are contained in its cost cutting ideas: giving patients ways of reducing demand, for example booking appointments and getting prescription demand; and improving supply efficiencies across the board.

The consultants note that the NHS outspends most rich countries in IT when measured as a percentage of total healthcare expenditure.

The implication is there are plenty of productivity savings to be made through judicious, albeit bloody expensive, “technology interventions”. ®

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