The UK and US are working on common standards for technology services that will help UK health IT companies expand into the US market, NHS England’s director of patients and information has revealed.

Tim Kelsey travelled to the US with an NHS delegation last week where they attended the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington.

He said NHS England and its US counterpart held summit meetings where they quickly identified a series of common opportunities and issues to resolve.

“One was making it much easier for entrepreneurs to access both markets,” Kelsey explained.

“We have now committed to come up with a common standard of certification for technology companies, so they can sign up to a standard in the UK or the US and be able to travel into both market places, which will be particularly helpful for UK companies entering the US market.”

He said differing requirements for certification were a barrier to the spread of innovation and both countries were committed to resolving the issue urgently, “so we can realise the potential of entrepreneurs on both sides of the Atlantic”.

Kesley believed this would help to create a vibrant market place in electronic record keeping, improving patient outcomes and stimulating entrepreneurs to maximise choice for patients and health professionals in the NHS.

A series of bilateral working groups have been set up to work on the project.

Ten small UK technology companies accompanied the NHS delegation.

Head of healthcare at Intellect, Jon Lindberg, said industry welcomed the use of common, open and free standards.

“Where common standards are implemented patients, health systems and suppliers all win through affordable and innovative new solutions being available to support improvement in patient care,” he said.

“Common standards can also help suppliers grow globally as it reduces barriers to market entry.

“However, we would need to know what type of ‘common standards for technology services’ are planned. This could cover many different things and its crucial industry has a leading role in determining this moving forward. “

Lindberg added that Intellect would welcome further engagement from NHS England on the project.