The NHS Information Centre is to replace the Secondary Uses Service with an open data platform.

SUS was set up as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS to provide data for planning, commissioning, management, research and audit; and supports Payment by Results.

It is currently provided by BT as part of the national application service provider contract that delivers the NHS data spine. This is due to expire in 2013, but can be extended to 2016.

The replacement service will provide a secure online application store for health and social care information bringing together data, services, technical processing and storage solutions.

The NHS IC is also to move away from having one contract with one supplier and will instead use “innovative, commercial, procurement and contractual arrangements” with the aim of encouraging a more competitive market for suppliers and greater opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises.

In a statement to eHealth Insider, the NHS IC said: “The new solution is intended to not only replace SUS but improve upon it, by harnessing current and evolving innovations in information, technology and knowledge.

“It will be built to open technical standards allowing true interoperability, robust security and common data standards to ensure that data is transparent and shared rather than duplicated.”

The organisation has said the open data platform will also monitor the quantity and quality of community services, which costs the NHS more than £10 billion per year, through the national implementation of a ‘community information dataset’.

The business case for the platform is currently being reviewed by the Department of Health, while it will aim to make the most out of cloud computing technology to ensure costs are reduced.

The NHS IC ran a workshop in March to discuss the platform and its creation aims to support the government’s proposal to provide more access to health and social care data.

It will be running a ‘Hack week’ next week (10-14 October) for open access and open technology specialists, to demonstrate and develop the architectural principles and pilot the technology which will form the platform.

Using real, anonymised data, the centre will aim to explore real information challenges and generate applications which will demonstrate how value can be extracted from the large datasets.