PracticeConsultingWorth the price of public shame

Worth the price of public shame

'So Mr Bennett, just so we're clear on this...now that we've managed to surgically reassemble three of your digits after trapping your hand down your waste disposal unit, could we possibly place all this information onto our new system and share your embarrassing and unfortunate situation with the entire country?'

Fortunately, I haven’t as yet lost any fingers to domestic catastrophes but you can imagine the scenario where, in roughly 10 years, doctors, GPs, nurses and pretty much anyone with a stethoscope will be able to access your personal details and medical history online. Not only that, they will also be able to share this information with other sleep-deprived, white-coated colleagues across the country.

Of course, everyone knows this is the right move and one that should help save lives but, on the other hand, it is also one that 46% of the UK wouldn’t feel comfortable with, according to Accenture’s gargantuan annual e-government survey.

What I’d like to say to that slice of society is hard cheese – the sharing of medical records will happen and will transform the treatment of patients into a faster and more efficient process.

But the thing that rubs me up the wrong way is the fact that despite government bodies investing billions in external management and IT consultants to move services online (good work if you can get it) such as taxation and, in the future, health records, the UK public is still ignorant of its benefits and even its existence. So much for e-services, eh Tony!

The Accenture e-government study astonishingly found that 73% of us prefer to use the telephone to the internet, 42% preferred snail-mail while 39% decided to take their luck into their own hands and nip down in person. Only a mere 17% of everyday Joe’s said they received regular online contact over the past year. So, apart from funding these enormously cash and time-heavy deals, where has all the money gone? Well, certainly not on raising public awareness.

As the report says, now that the technology and systems are in place for future use, a major reinvention of government service delivery is needed. And it is needed now, not in 10 years.

James Bennett is editor of our Management Consultancy ebook. To register for the ebook go to managementconsultancy.co.uk

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