We must see the positives and not make the Federated Data Platform (FDP) something that it is not, Dr Vin Diwakar told an audience in his opening keynote speech at HETT 2023.

The interim director for transformation for NHS England confirmed that the preferred bidder for the FDP will be announced soon and stressed that we must “not make the FDP something that it isn’t”, explaining that “it is software”.

Diwakar told the audience to “remember the transformational impact” the platform will have and confirmed that the data does not move in the platform but is held securely. He also said the platform will be based on open standards and any data shared on it will be owned by the NHS.

The “NHS remains fully in control of the platform and all the data”, he told attendees at London’s ExCeL, stressing that the FDP supplier or any other organisation will not have control.

In response to those with concerns about who the FDP contract will be awarded to, Diwakar said that between 30 and 40 independent people have assessed the bids for the platform before helping to select the most suitable bidder.

Progress and transformation

Diwakar, who has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at Digital Health Rewired 2024, said that 88% of trusts currently have an electronic patient record (EPR) in place, with 90% expected by the end of the year and 100% by 2026.

He also said that 52% of trusts have social care records, with 80% expected to have them in place by 2025. The NHSE interim director for transformation then set out how the NHS will achieve transformation in six ways:

  • Reimagining access for patients
  • Giving patients more control over their health data
  • Taking friction away through technology
  • Creating more insights into disease
  • Increasing the social value of the NHS
  • Increasing the economic value of the NHS

Importance of the NHS App

Diwakar also highlighted in his speech the importance and popularity of the NHS App, referencing the now 32 million sign ups and 500,000 repeat prescriptions through the app every week.

He said “it will play a critical role in this year’s flu and Covid vaccine campaigns” and urged everyone listening to sign up on the app to be part of research, with around 200,000 so far doing so.

Diwakar confirmed that steps are being taken to make the app easier to work and in 2024, the option of putting new languages into the app will be explored, with health inequalities at the forefront of thinking.

He concluded by saying that digital technology is the “future foundation of the NHS” and “if we don’t grab opportunities now, we will let the NHS down”.