“Litigious nature” of software vendors preventing unbiased reviews of healthcare software

By Graeme Burton
01 Apr 2014 View Comments
NHS doctor using a computer

NHS trusts and other health organisations are hamstrung from going public about the quality - or otherwise - of healthcare industry software due to the litigious nature of the software companies that dominate the market.

That is the warning of Dr Joe McDonald, chairman of the CCIO Leaders network and deputy medical director of quality and patient safety at Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Further reading

Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum as chairman of the chief clinical information officer (CCIO), McDonald said that the CCIO would like to publish unbiased reviews of healthcare software systems on its website in the same way that people do with products on Amazon and other e-tailers' websites, but that it was unable to "because of the litigious nature of the marketplace".

He continued: "We would like to see something like Comparethesoftware.co.uk... but our pockets are not deep enough to confront the legal departments of the suppliers... The atmosphere can get a bit difficult if we are critical of a particular supplier or organisation."

However, he added, "Maybe the NHS can take a different approach". 

Instead, he advised people procuring software within healthcare organisations to approach their opposite numbers in other NHS trusts and to find out about suppliers by networking informally.

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