NHS Digital has launched a new framework which has been designed to increase innovation and choice across the primary care IT market. 

The Tech Innovation Framework aims to give GPs and commissioners access to a wider range of technology, enabling them to deliver better care. It will be a blueprint for introducing the next generation of standards for IT systems.

Any organisation can apply to become part of the framework, which has been designed to inspire new methods of working, and commissioners will be able to use this framework to buy user-focused GP systems and associated products and services.

Helen Clifton, executive director for product delivery at NHS Digital, said: “This is a key step forward on our journey to putting patients at the heart of everything we do by ensuring primary care benefits from the very latest technology.

“The new framework will introduce new solutions into the market to work alongside our current GP offer, providing greater choice and different user experiences.

“It will give GPs access to innovative solutions that feature tools they need to make their jobs easier and services which enhance the care they provide patients.”

The framework forms the next stage of NHS Digital’s GP IT Futures programme, which aims to move towards open, cloud-based systems which can be accessed over the internet on any device.

Suppliers submitting a tender to join the Tech Innovation Framework are required to provide a solution which delivers at least the six core functions. These are patient information maintenance, appointments management, recording consultations, prescribing, referral management, and resource management.

Suppliers will also have to meet all the standards on the Digital Care Services Catalogue, including the GP IT Futures Tech Innovation Standard, which is looking for public cloud-hosted, internet first, browser-based solutions with open APIs that provide a modern user experience.

Engagement work has already taken place with potential suppliers, 36 of whom expressed an interest in the framework plans.

The Tech Innovation Framework is the fourth framework to launch under the Digital Care Services Buying Catalogue, along with the GP IT Futures and Digital First Online Consultation, Adult Social Care and Video Consultation frameworks.