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Inform Prim Care. 2006;14(4):227-33; discussion 234.

XML-based clinical data standardisation in the National Health Service Scotland.

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University of Aberdeen Business School, Aberdeen, UK.


The objective of this paper is to clarify the role that socio-economic factors played in shaping the development of XML-based clinical data standards in the National Health Service in Scotland from 2000 to 2004. The paper discusses the NHS Scotland approach to clinical data standardisation, emphasising the actors involved, their choices during the standard development process and the factors that have shaped these choices. The case suggests that the NHS Scotland approach to clinical data standardisation is shaped by strong political pressures for fast development of an integrated electronic patient care system, economic pressures for high efficiency and cost reductions, and organisational requirements for strong clinical support. Such economic, political and organisational pressures explain the informal approach to standard development, the emphasis on fast system development and strong clinical involvement. At the same time, market factors explain the low commitment of the IT vendors, which might have otherwise put significant pressure on NHS Scotland to pursue a more formalised standardisation approach within an internationally recognised standard-setting body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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