The Experimental Computer Programme (1967–1979) was the first central government intervention for hospital computing in the English National Health Service. Influenced by developments in the United States, the UK Department of Health envisioned integrated medical and management information systems, operating in real time. The approach to implementation was experimental and piecemeal. The program was overambitious for the computer technology available, but social, economic, and political barriers were equally significant. Despite positioning as a research program, evaluation was poorly managed. Although the program was judged to be a failure at the time, some projects were partially successful. The history of the program remains relevant to the question of how governments might best support hospital computing initiatives in relatively centralized, publicly funded health systems.


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pp. 65-79
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