Interoperability should not come at cost of “transparent” procurement

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Interoperability will be a key driver of government plans to revamp the NHS but should not come at the cost of “open, transparent procurement”, it has been said.

David Hancock, healthcare executive advisor for tech supplier InterSystems, said integrated care systems (ICSs) will need to have interoperability embedded if true joined up health and care is to be achieved.

“It’s going to force some real digital transformation across health and care and they’re going to need interoperability to be able to support that,” he told Digital Health News.

“Hospitals are no longer going to be islands whose only way of measuring their success is whether they are in deficit or profit by the end of the year. It’s about how they perform as part of an integrated care system.

“For that they’re going to need to be able to collaborate and support patient journeys across the system and be able to share information in a way in which patient populations are managed across that system, which is all about interoperability.”

His comments come as government plans to overhaul the NHS revealed ICSs would be embedded in law, with every area in England expected to be covered by a system.

The plans aim to “modernise the legal framework” to make the health system “fit for the future”, according to a Department of Health and Social Care statement.

They follow health secretary Matt Hancock’s ‘bureaucracy-busting mission’, which aims to improve the use of data within the NHS and would see the health service capitalise on “good practice” responses during Covid-19.

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Date: 15 Feb 2021