NHSX has been leading a discovery for the last 3 months to find out how they can improve the way technology and digital services are being built and purchased by NHS organisations.
They have been working with local, regional and central teams researching what barriers are preventing how the technical standards are being implemented, and how to use them more consistently.
The key priority for the NHS Long Term Plan regarding technology is to make sure the technology systems are interoperable and that they communicate with each other effectively.
The NHSX found that:
- Technical standards are only being met by the more recent procurement frameworks like the Health Systems Support Framework and GP IT Futures.
- The use of technical standards can vary depending on their availability in products, local technical capability, and affordability as well as capacity limitations.
The NHSX carried out interviews with 70 stakeholders and IT staff like Chief Information Officers in hospital trusts. They looked at the whole buying process that is used by local technology and digital teams to be able to identify which areas need improvement. After going through all the information, the NHSX developed a technical assurance service which will help teams buy compliant technology.
A selection of trusts in an alpha test will be assisted by the NHSX to determine what the best ways are to deliver this service. In the beginning phase they will be focusing mainly on interoperability standards.
The NHSX want to develop and deliver an assurance service that helps NHS organisations build or buy technology that complies with all the open technical standards mandates, and at the same time meet all their practical needs. They also want to show the various NHS organisations why they need to go through this process and highlight the benefits they will experience in doing so.
After evidence from testing different approaches has been gathered from the alpha, a good understanding of the needs the NHS departments have when it comes to technical standards being met will be obtained. Once these needs are analysed, the right processes can be put into place that will support the technical standards mandate.