NHS Wales is to develop a national email service for all staff, including GPs and other primary care workers.
A new infrastructure strategy, published by Informing Healthcare, also outlines plans to extend the Welsh Health Telephone Network to primary care, so staff can take advantage of toll-free calls between phones connected to the network.
And it proposes to increase internet access speeds, develop an acceptable use policy for the internet, and investigate a national text messaging service.
The first edition of the strategy covers networking services, user access devices, servers and storage, messaging and collaboration services, directory services and voice services.
Informing Healthcare says the resources needed to implement the strategy have not yet been identified and work will be prioritised with business cases created to secure the necessary funding.
The strategy, which is to be updated annually, is the first in a series of documents that will describe the IT strategy being followed by the Informing Healthcare programme and its partner organisations in Wales.
The document states that the main aim of the strategy is to move from the current organisational diversity of infrastructure across Wales to a corporate arrangement that can meet the requirements of current and future healthcare services.
Informing Healthcare plans to migrate its Wide Area Networks (WANs) to a new government wide network, provided by the Public Sector Broadband Aggregation contract.
It will also create minimum standards for WAN connections, Local Area Networks and Wireless Local Area Networks, and upgrade sites to minimum standards.
Other aspects of the strategy cover the development of minimum specifications for servers and the development of data hosting facilities for NHS Wales’ national solutions.
It also outlines plans to develop a national minimum hardware specification – not limited to one supplier – with common operating systems and core applications deployed on all machines.
A national email service is a priority because the strategy says that only 50% of NHS Wales employees have access to email. But it also outlines plans to develop national directory services so users can easily identify colleagues in all NHS Wales organisations.
The strategy also promises to improve the remote access solutions currently available to NHS staff and to procure a national solution for devices not owned or managed by NHS Wales.