NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has launched a cloud based procurement platform for organisations in the sector.
The joint venture between the Department of Health and Social Care and digital consultancy Sopra Steria said a few NHS trusts have already begun to use The Edge4Health and that it is now more widely available to the 60 using its finance and procurement services.
The platform has been developed with technology company Virtualstock with NHS South of England Procurement Services (SoEPS), a hosted service of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
The latter is one of the first to use the platform, along with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. NHS SBS said that in the first three months it has been used for the procurement over more than 1 million products valued at over £8 million.
Alan Hoskins (pictured), director of procurement at SoEPS, said: “Some of the key attractions of The Edge4Health for procurement teams across the NHS are that it’s an intuitive consumer-style platform, which helps hospital staff to easily buy products against a contract, and means far less procurement team time is spent on the admin around managing catalogues.
“We were particularly keen to enhance the user experience for those within our own trust by providing them with an efficient, easy-to-use system. A big positive for us is having supplier managed catalogues to enable the reallocation of resource – to allow our team to do more valuable work with suppliers around contract negotiations and monitoring, as well as more on the reporting side.
“In addition, The Edge4Health should really reduce the number of invoice queries, which I’m sure the majority of NHS procurement teams would currently describe as a frustrating and time consuming problem.”
NHS SBS said the platform is interoperable with systems such as Ingenica, Integra, Omnicell and Oracle, and makes it possible to search for the products and services they require from multiple suppliers. NHS requisitioners only see the products and prices that have been pre-approved by hospital procurement teams.
It is also fully aligned to national NHS procurement programmes, such as the New Operating Model and eProcurement Strategy, and is compliant with GS1 barcode and data management standards. NHS SBS said it should soon be certified to the PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line) electronic data interchange protocol.
There are plans to add additional functions to the system, including the ability to rate and review products and check a company’s cyber security.
Image from NHS SBS