Building a ‘clinical satnav’ could save lives, say IT experts

Creating a ‘clinical satnav’ for doctors will save lives, according to a new report by the professional body for IT.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT has said that providing better computerised advice for routine medical decisions could save lives and help solve problems like the over-prescription of antibiotics.

The study argues that a connected system of computable knowledge will take years off the time between research findings being published in journals to when they get adopted into clinical practice.

“Tech is vital to the NHS so we need to invest in the infrastructure and new ways of working for computable knowledge to be used to its full capacity,” said Dr Philip Scott, chair of BCS Health and Care. "Computer-driven, healthcare decision support already exists to a limited extent, but we must catch up with other fields.

"In banking, shopping and travel, computational support for personal and expert decision-making is commonplace and often seamless."

The IT body says that computer-driven support for diagnosis and other clinical decisions must become a mainstream part of the NHS.

To achieve this, standardised, computable forms of clinical guidance and systems that must be able to talk to each other across the UK, it said.

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