The Carter Report sends a clear message that NHS professionals lack the necessary analytics analysing the right data to make the best healthcare decisions. It will never square the circle of increasing patient expectations and budget pressures unless it addresses this issue. For example:-
" We were also disappointed to find limited digital maturity with regards to medicines information technology, with great variation in the deployment of electronic prescribing and administration systems in both inpatient (13% of trusts) and outpatient (4% of trusts)"
The NHS has a choice. It could do what it has always done before when faced with a budget crisis and make salami-slicing cuts that don't achieve much if any productivity improvement and don't lead to sustainable balanced budgets. Or, it can apply well known management and information practices that work elsewhere and start identifying how to achieve sustained improvement.
The answer need not be in leviathan systems that take too long to build, are to complex to use and over-run budgets adding to financial pressures.
The answers are there
Collecting the right information and analysing appropriately is an essential part of management in any organisation. If you don't get the right information or you don't make sure the analysis of it is presented effectively and in a timely way, you have no hope of achieving a grip on your operations. This means you won't know how to improve quality or efficiency. In the private sector your customers will defect to your competitors; in hospitals, you will harm your patients, annoy your staff, and either run an unsustainable deficit or make patient-harming decisions to contain your costs.