NHS reveals digital framework to standardise tech deployment

The guidelines aim to fully connect NHS departments and prevent service delays

A stethoscope on top of a MacBook keyboard

The NHS has unveiled a digital framework that sets out how technology should be used in the public sector organisation, including guidelines about how data should be shared across bodies, plus the infrastructure and platforms NHS departments should be adopting.

Standardisation is at the heart of the proposals, ensuring everyone is working from the same blueprint and ensuring technology is better integrated across the entire health service. The NHS said this means practitioners will all be able to access the information they need much faster, whether the patient is coming in for a routine operation or needs emergency care.

At present, many of the NHS services and platforms are not connected, meaning there's often a delay getting relevant information to healthcare workers. This not only means that the patients experience a worse standard of care, but also means medical professionals waste time obtaining the records they need to provide a better service.

"The tech revolution is coming to the NHS. These robust standards will ensure that every part of the NHS can use the best technology to improve patient safety, reduce delays and speed up appointments," said Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock.

"A modern technical architecture for the health and care service has huge potential to deliver better services and to unlock our innovations. We want this approach to empower the country's best innovators inside and outside the NHS and we want to hear from staff, experts and suppliers to ensure our standards will deliver the most advanced health and care service in the world."

Although much of the proposals are focused on standardising care, a major part is also giving local health authorities the flexibility to choose the right technologies for their particular area, while also ensuring they integrate with nationwide systems.

The NHS will invite CIOs, chief clinical information officers (CCIOs), and others working in tech-related roles within the healthcare sector to contribute to the first stage of the framework, which will be opened up to other innovators in the medical space at a later date.

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