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NHS Digital works on ‘guide rails’ for common tools


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Shan Rahulan
Image source: NHS Digital

NHS Digital is planning to develop a set of ‘guide rails’ for the development of common digital tools for healthcare services.

Its director of platforms, core services Shan Rahulan (pictured) said this is aimed at bridging a gap between the teams that use the tools and those that provide them.

In a blogpost on the plan, he outlined common tools as building blocks for quickly developing products or services, and that the approach to encourage their re-use is through the NHS service standard for delivering digital services.

The guide rails will be clear instructions of things to consider when creating products that will be included in a new technology section of the service standard.

“We hope the inclusion of technical guidance and policy in the NHS service standard will signpost users to existing tools that may meet their needs, reducing waste and improving quality of care,” Rahulan said.


He outlined four priorities for technical capabilities before they are added as guidance, one of which is to provide a clear onboarding process for their integration into a product or service.

The others are: good documentation with support information for developers and users; a transparent and robust assurance process; and support for national standards.

Rahulan said the guide rails will not be a silver bullet solution for all the pain points, and that there will be challenges around onboarding, integration, roadmaps and data quality. The platforms team plans to address these over the next six months.

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