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NHS Scotland digital platform to use public cloud

08/03/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

NHS Education for Scotland has launched the procurement for the country’s National Digital Platform (NDP) of health and social care – with an indication it is to be based in the public cloud.

Stethoscope on computer keyboard

The organisation, whose digital service is leading the work on the NDP, has titled it Public Cloud for the National Digital Platform, with a projected value of about £15 million.

It is aiming to sign a 10-year contract with renewal options of two and five years.

The move is a significant step in the implementation of the Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care Strategy, of which the NDP is a major feature.

It is aimed at providing a shared infrastructure for the systems used in Scotland’s health and care sector, which have been developed independently of each other and are often difficult to connect to work together.

This should help staff to access data in real time, give the public the capacity to obtain their own data more easily, and open up new possibilities for research on the sector. It is also expected to improve data security.

Common standards

In a blogpost published last year, the director of the digital service for NHS Education Scotland, Geoff Huggins, said: “By establishing the foundations first, we can outline a common set of standards for any subsequent systems. Then we can go on to either build new clinical systems ourselves, or enable others to build systems using the same platform and standards.

“New systems will naturally plug together, giving us for the first time an integrated approach.”

The newly published procurement notice emphasises the need for real time data at the point of care, and to be able to scale this up to improve the quality of the service and support research and innovation. It also refers to the requirement for a predictable architecture to enable the development of new digital products for health and care.

To this end, the service is looking for cloud infrastructure to include repositories for storing structured and unstructured clinical data, services to power web and mobile apps, and an integration layer. It also wants both platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service with provision for virtual networks.

The security element comes with a requirement to comply with the relevant principles of the National Cyber Security Centre.

Image from iStock, berekin health

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