Health informatics could play a revolutionary role in the NHS after the general election - but only if informaticians step up to the challenge, an industry body has said.

Speaking at HC2010, a showcase event for the sector, former Department of Health interim chief information officer and BCS Health head Matthew Swindells claimed existing technology had the power to streamline the service and save lives.

“From the knowledge that’s in informatics, it’s clear the profession has the potential to support the transformation of the NHS and help deliver more for less in an evidence-based way,” he said.

“If informatics doesn’t step forward and provide that leadership, guesswork will be the basis of the redesign of the NHS and the public won’t get what they need or deserve.

“The NHS is at a particular moment in its history. It’s had huge investment pumped into it over the past 10 years. The rate of growth in spending is about to come to a shuddering halt and it cannot respond by saying it’s not going to deliver less care to fewer patients. Informatics must be seen as responding to these changes and leading the way.”

HC2010 runs from 27-29 April at the ICC, in Birmingham.