NHSX has begun work on an alpha project to develop a technical assurance service for health service organisations buying technology.
It is planning to work with local, regional and central NHS teams and to consult with suppliers in understanding what they need from such a service.
The move is aimed at helping it put in place appropriate processes and guidance to support the use of mandated open technical standards.
It follows a discovery process in which NHSX – the body leading digital technology policy in the Department for Health and Social Care – carried out 70 interviews with hospital trust IT managers and other stakeholders. It mapped out the typical buying processes used by digital teams, identifying where there are areas for improvement.
The main finding was that the use of technical standards – which are part of central health procurement frameworks such as the Health System Support Framework and GP IT Futures – can vary depending on factors including the availability of products, affordability and the local technical capability.
Delivery and demonstration
The alpha process will be focused on how to deliver an assurance service that helps NHS users buy or build technology that complies with mandated open technical standards. It will also look at how to demonstrate the benefits and whether it is possible to create a proportionate service for healthcare trusts that need less support.
Rob Banathy of NHSX said: “We want to make sure that technology systems are able to talk to each other. Making data interoperable and accessible is a key priority action in the NHS Long Term Plan.”
He added: “At the end of the alpha, we will have a good understanding of the needs of NHS organisations when it comes to ensuring technical standards are met, with evidence from testing different approaches. This will enable us to put in place the right processes and guidance to support the use of mandated open technical standards.”
Image from NHSX, Open Government Licence v3.0