IT industry association techUK has highlighted problems with clarity, market engagement and standards and frameworks that it believes could hinder the digitisation of the NHS.
techUK praises the work of the former NHSX unit, now within the transformation directorate of NHS England, and NHS Digital in working with suppliers. But it expresses concerns in three main areas.
One is a lack of clarity on issues such as the sources of funding, decisions on commissioning, the consistency in approaches at local level and how commitments within different strategies will be aligned.
“Greater clarity and regular dialogue with industry would help to ensure that all efforts are directed towards the most pressing priorities of the system,” the summary says. “Such an approach would also build further trust between suppliers and the NHS.”
Art of the possible
Another is a lack of early market engagement between NHS and social organisations and suppliers to “understand the art of the possible”. In response, techUK advocates expanding NHS Digital’s programme of industry engagement when it merges with NHS England next year, and providing additional guidance through the new Central Commercial Function.
It also says the commercial landscape is too complex, with suppliers having to be aware of multiple routes to market, deal with the costs of getting onto procurement frameworks – which often overlap with each other – and facing a lack of clarity on interoperability and data standards.
It qualifies the latter point, however, by acknowledging work being done by NHS England on a standards and interoperability strategy.