IT companies trying to sell personalised health software to the NHS are being vetted by NHS England.

On Friday, the commissioning body published a document outlining new requirements for IT companies seeking to participate in the roll-out of integrated personal commissioning (IPC) and personal health budgets (PHB).

The document said with some CCGs already looking to acquire IT systems to support PHBs, there was a risk that solutions would be of “varying quality” without central intervention.

The document said IT products for personalised health care should:

  • Identify and prioritise high needs people who should be offered a PHB and indicate the size of their budget
  • Generate a personalised care and support plan
  • Financially monitor and manage personal budget spending
  • Support an integrated marketplace of health and social care options
  • Host a peer support community
  • Provide data analytics to gain insights from people’s health and care choices
  • Integrate with and comply with NHS security, privacy and information governance standards

While no one product is expected to tick all these boxes, they should all be able to demonstrate they can integrate with products that do.

IPCs and PHBs, outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, are intended to integrate and devolve more health and social care commissioning responsibility to patients and their families.

The shift is focused on people with high needs. These include children with “complex needs”, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, and older people with multiple long-term conditions.

Since 2015, NHS England has selected 19 “demonstrator” or “early adopter” sites to test integrated personal commissioning.

NHS England want to roll-out IPCs nationwide by 2020, covering at least 50,000 people.

The document said that “NHS England expects the development of IT solutions will support this broader model of care to enable the continued expansion of IPC”.

NHS England said following submissions from suppliers it would publish a list of products that meet the personalised health requirements.

CCGs and social care commissioners would then used this list as a starting point when acquiring technology to support IPCs and personal health budgets.

The list is essentially an informal framework, although NHS England were keen to stress that it was “running a process” not “any kind of procuring framework”.

“This is the initial phase of NHS England’s approach to developing the capability of IT systems to support personalisation.”

NHS England would continue to refine and add to the list to ensure “the quality of IT solutions is maintained and to stimulate a dynamic marketplace, encouraging innovation and new entrants”, the document said.

The closing date for responses to the requirement is 7 April.