HTN Industry View: NHSX to mandate health tech standards

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Last week HTN reported on NHSX confirming their intent to mandate the use of internationally-recognised tech and data standards across the NHS to ensure a consistent language of clinical terms to help staff share information, as reported by HTN here.

Following our news article, we asked the industry for their views on this announcement and curated a series of responses from industry experts.

Contributors include: Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Nova, Orion Health, CCube Solutions, DictateIT, PCMIS Health Technologies, Channel 3 Consulting, Highland Marketing, InfoFlex, Difrent, Inhealthcare, Servelec, Ascom, TPP and Ingenica Solutions.

Dr. James Reed, Chief Clinical Information Officer, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

I am very pleased to see the importance of standards being recognised at a national level, it is something we at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have long thought helpful.

This will allow us to build the systems needed to deliver safe and effective care across organisational and geographical boundaries. It’s a welcome step and I am looking forward to seeing further developments as everyone in the NHS and our suppliers move towards the same end goal.

We are beginning to see a new digital horizon for the health sector starting to form.

Gary Birks, General Manager, UK and Ireland, Orion Health

There is significant opportunity for the NHS in NHSX mandating standards which will ensure that the NHS, and vendors alike, align not only on technical standards, but also functional and medical standards.

It is important that consideration is given to the risk of restricting innovation in the market. ‘Startup’ organisations will struggle with the investment to comply, whilst larger vendors, already with a customer base tied to contracts, are given the time to align and develop standards. This is because of the risk in moving from the current vendor and system to a new compliant system.

Standards should not only focus on technical requirements but also consider the opportunity to progress functional requirements and to align technology to meet stringent medical device standards. The opportunity should be taken to align information technology to the domain of medical technology. An approach similar to the Requirements for Accreditation (RFA) process would work well, ensuring that requirements were clearly published to the market with an appropriate timescale to meet the standard.

It is important that the view on standards is not constrained and that the NHS and the market do not pick and choose, for example a choice between FHIR and openEHR.

Orion Health is at the forefront of advocating for, conforming to, and using all common standards for healthcare technology, for example through our membership of HL7 and InterOpen, so we look forward to continue being at the forefront of the debate and the development of standards.

Brian Gorman, Managing Partner, Channel 3 Consulting

The NHSX plan to mandate the use of internationally-recognised tech and data standards across the NHS is a necessary intervention. It demonstrates a step change in digital leadership and will set the required standards and technology enablers to support the NHS long-term plan – a welcome move, with successful delivery dependent on a blend of leadership, direction and enabling technologies.

Successful adoption, however, will require facilitation, supporting transformation and change across clinical and supplier stakeholders and we look forward to hearing more about how NHSX will work with organisations to enable the implementation of new ways of working to tackle some of the health service’s most pressing challenges.

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Date: April 10, 2019 7:50 pm