NHS Digital is proposing to create a “clear, baseline analytical service”, according to a paper with significant implications for the business intelligence market.

The ‘data and information strategy’ paper says the baseline service will “raise the bar for analytics across the system” and do away with the need for local organisations to buy basic BI and analytics services.

Although this will have implications for companies that sell these services, the paper argues that the move will encourage “investments in innovation.”

The former Health and Social Care Information Centre announced that it was to be renamed NHS Digital in April this year, with the change taking place in August.

At the time, then-life sciences minister George Freeman said the new name would reflect a change in focus, with the organisation looking at how it could "harness technology and information for modern health care."

The data and information strategy, drawn up by Daniel Ray, its relatively new director of data science, fits with this direction of travel. It says the baseline service “will shift the focus more to the use of information to drive improvement in quality, efficiency and outcomes.”

Specifically, the paper, which will be discussed at NHS Digital’s board meeting tomorrow, says the organisation will develop an “enhanced, interactive, web-based analytics service” for the data it holds from the health and care system.

It says its new service catalogue will cover services it is directed or commissioned to provide, that can be cost-effectively delivered across a large population, or that are needed to support an indicator or statutory service.

It says NHS Digital won’t provide analysis services that require local engagement, customisation, or innovation; leaving commercial suppliers to work in this space.

“We recognise that our analytical service offering can (and indeed should) have an impact on the market of business intelligence analytical providers,” the paper says in an ‘engaging with the market’ section.

“By making standard, baseline data analytics that are easily available and easy to be interpreted, we expect to shift the market into adding greater value and innovation for the health system and taxpayer.

“We will develop and deliver a new underpinning data architecture and infrastructure that creates an innovation ecosystem for the market that is larger than that which currently exists.”

At its board meeting, NHS Digital will be asked to note the paper and agree the data and information strategy.