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NHSX to focus on standards and platforms


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHSX is to place its initial focus on standards and platforms and a streamlining of transformation projects, its chief executive has said.

Matthew Gould (pictured) has outlined the priorities for the new unit in the Department of Health and Social Care – effectively fleshing out last month’s indications from Health Minister Baroness Blackwood – in a blogpost that points to the need for interoperability and a better digital experience for patients.

It says the first stage of the plan is the focus on standards and platforms, aiming for common technical and semantic rules to support the exchange of diagnostic information and enable the “plugging in” of new services as they develop.

This comes with a more dispersed approach to transformation projects, with NHSX encouraging clinicians, trusts, charities and start-ups to develop new services, rather than them coming from the centre.

Gould says that programmes that support interoperability and joining up data, such as the Local Health and Care Records Exemplars and the Global Digital Exemplar, will continue. But some are closing, either because they have delivered on objectives or NHSX wants them to become a mainstream way of delivering digital services.

They include NHS Wifi, Access to Service Information, Digitising Community Pharmacy and Widening Digital Participation.

Those still in place include work on the NHS app and citizen ID, medication standards, digital child health and maternity and booking, referrals and appointments management.

Top missions

The top delivery missions for NHSX are to reduce burdens on clinicians and staff to give them more time with patients; give people tools to access information and services directly; ensure safe access to clinical information; patient safety; and improving NHS productivity.

“There is more spending to look at and we will never stop trying to find ways of smarter working,” Gould says.

“We’re not done yet. For now, though, this process has been a hugely valuable exercise, bringing together the entire tech leadership of the NHS to thrash out agreement in exactly the way NHSX was designed to do.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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