Background: England's National Health Service information technology (NHS IT) has been much criticised in a number of major governmental and non-governmental reports. The author was requested to write a review of NHS IT to help formulate policy.
Objective: To identify what had worked and should be continued and what was unhelpful and should be dropped from NHS IT.
Method: Iterative process of debate with a committee of experts.
Results: The theme areas which emerged were: • the central importance of the record to serving individual patient care, and that this should be top priority • development of systems should be carried out as close as possible to the front-line clinicians who use them • standards and frameworks are useful centralised functions; whereas imposing detailed technical solutions across large geographical areas is unlikely to succeed and should be abandoned.
Conclusions: IT should be seen as a clinical tool in health care, developed to meet the needs of patients and front-line clinicians.