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Healthcare - Nhs

Essay by   •  August 25, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  1,075 Words (5 Pages)  •  421 Views

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IT is the backbone for most of the industries these days due to the wide-scale use of computers, internet and telecommunications systems. IT helps in managing, storing, sharing/communicating and transmitting information/data conveniently and effectively. Banks, retail, healthcare, media, education, and transport sectors use IT every day and we can’t imagine a moment without the IT in our lives.

While IT has helped business tremendously, it is also a costly affair and not the most resilient. Many business/sectors have had major IT failures resulting in huge losses in terms of money, respect and utility, the government or public sector is the most common.


  • Public sector: Healthcare - NHS

The NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) was an initiative by DoH to move to a single, centrally mandated electronic patient care system which would connect all the hospitals and GPs and provide them audited and high-security access by authorized healthcare professionals. This would have been the world’s largest civilian system but was shelved by the government after a £10bn spend of tax payers money. It was simply too big, too ambitious and too complex

Although the aim of the project was appreciated and laudable. The fact that it was a politically inspired project and devised by politicians meant that there were huge gaps in scope, implementation, and delivery.  In most of the failed government projects, governance arrangements were found to be less than effective, and responsibilities were so diffused that it was difficult to identify who was accountable. Senior officers were reluctant to make critical decisions and project steering committees didn’t have the requisite expertise. 

Reasons for IT failure

  • Failure to understand the requirements
  • No alignment in commercial drivers
  • Key stakeholders such as hospitals, GPs not involved
  • No clarity on what was going to be delivered to end-users
  • Scope of work not defined and there were multiple changes to the scope
  • Multisourcing – awarding the work in a series of lots to multiple service providers  
  • Corporates: Airlines and Banks
  1. British Airways recently had the worst IT nightmare when their systems completely shut down causing travel chaos for over 75, 000 passengers. Travelers were completely let down by BA with no flights for over 2 days and no communication from the BA staff on the issue.

Apparently, an outage at the local Datacentre physically damaged the servers bringing the BA systems down. The prediction is that compensation could run over a £100bn for BA- however, they still seem to claim that this wasn’t an IT failure but a one off power outage situation.

The CEO of the parent company, Willie Walsh said to the media that “It wasn’t a computer meltdown,” It was not a failure of IT.”  And also added that it was human error which caused the power outage.

Last year and early this year a series of IT failures caused flight disruptions for Delta and Southwest airlines in the US. Delta outage costing it about $150mn and Southwest about $54mn.


  • The main reason for IT failure in the Airlines industry is they cut corners and don’t spend much in their business (infrastructure in this case) but they try to make enough cash to stay solvent.
  1. Banks

A payment software for HSBC caused havoc for customers in 2015. Thousands of customers were not able to receive their paychecks for the Bank holiday weekend.The bank could not process millions of direct debits and credits due to a flaw in the information submitted to Bacs.


  • Most of the major banks are still using decade old systems which they have inherited due to acquisitions and product continuity
  • There is more strain on the infrastructure as more and more customers prefer mobile banking and engage in multiple transactions in a day

  • New Technology and Innovation

In the past few years, there has been a surge in devices with cutting edge technology and some ground breaking innovations.

  • Mobile phones, Tabs, and smart devices
  • Every year smartphones are re-innovated making them sleek, super smart and quick and helping the consumers with finger tip information. But there have been some failures too.  Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the much-anticipated tab in 2016 but these were quickly recalled due to malfunction. These were banned in airlines due to the risk of batteries catching fire and Samsung eventually had to stop production of the device. Applewatch, UP jawbone is other devices which just didn’t manage to catch up with the other devices due to too many dependencies. All these products were well received initially but lost the lustre to the newbies.


  • Products not released with much testing
  • Design flaws
  • Manufacturing defects

All of the above attributed to aggressive time to market for new products due to competitive pressures



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