NHS Digital and techUK have entered into a strategic partnership to help “make the industry voice heard”.

The partnership aims to transform the way in which the industry accesses and consumes NHS Digital’s services.

Although the partnership was announced at eHealth Week in May this year, purdah had restricted further industry announcements and the issue of a press release – a techUK spokesman said.

At the time of the announcement and before her plans to leave NHS Digital as its director of digital transformation, Beverely Bryant said:

“The partnership with techUK will ensure that industry can begin to gear up for all the potential opportunities and inform NHS Digital’s strategy”.

She was joined by techUK’s chief executive, Julian David, who (at the event) added: “Delivering the NHS’s Paperless 2020 agenda will be no mean feat…delivering the agenda will require the true collaboration of many actors, and the UK tech sector is central to its success.”

A techUK spokesman said Bryant has been instrumental in fostering a spirit of partnership between industry and the NHS and will be sorely missed.

“That said, with the partnership in place and strong backing from the incoming chief executive we are confident that the partnership will gain in strength over the coming year.”

He said the aim of the partnership is to help address issues, get the right people around the table and make genuine progress towards the vision of a sustainable world-class digital health service.

NHS Digital’s former Director of Digital Transformation, Beverley Bryant and techUK’s Chief Executive, Julian David and their teams announcing the partnership at eHealth Week 2017.

“There are ambitious plans afoot to digitise health services. Progress on these plans will take collaboration between industry and government, so we have codified what was already a good and strong relationship between techUK and NHSD.”

An NHS Digital spokeswoman said the scale and complexity of the NHS’ digital transformation agenda presents a significant challenge for all, with underlying risks effecting the health and social care economy.

“By engaging the market early it will allow us to garner an understanding of the critical link between the intended outcome and the risk of delivery of our programmes”, the spokeswoman said.

“Ideally we’d like to support interactive engagement with suppliers to promote higher usage and better user experience and helping to put the user experience at the heart of products.”

They will conduct three (quarterly) industry briefings – providing the supplier community with an update and overview on NHS Digital work across the Health and Care Digitisation agenda. A NHS Digital supplier bi-monthly bulletin has also been launched.

The techUK spokesman said one of the most important areas they have been looking at is clinical triage.

“Tech can make huge inroads in this area for the benefit of patients, parents and professionals. This work will form part of a techUK paper to be published at the end of summer on alleviating some of the capacity issues that the NHS faces.”

He said much of techUK’s work focuses on how central NHS bodies can influence local bodies, “but we are increasingly asking trusts for their input into partnership work.”

“We need input and experience from the front-line to ensure the products and services our industry creates are taken up by users, be they clinicians, decision makers or the public.”

To keep up-to-date with partnership projects and activities you can sign up to NHS Digital and techUK’s email updates.

What the partnership hopes to achieve:
  • Transform the way industry access and consume NHS Digital services
  • Share and exploit market opportunities created by the P2020 portfolio; consulting industry throughout the delivery life-cycle, horizon scanning technology advances and supporting the development of a vibrant digital health and care marketplace
  • Develop a range of joint initiatives that will support the delivery of an integrated paper-free health and care system
  • Develop more intelligent delivery chain which national organisations, local organisations and industry work effectively together, maximising benefit and minimising cost and risk