Health department frees data for NHS IT buying


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9 November 2011 | Angeline Albert

The Department of Health (DH) plans to make its data more transparent and available to help NHS trusts buy IT more effectively.

As part of initiatives announced yesterday, DH will make more information, such as a supplier database, available to NHS commissioners and trusts to ensure their local IT buying decisions deliver greater value for money.   

A joint initiative with eHealthInsider (EHI) will give local commissioners and trusts access to data about IT systems and suppliers used across the NHS. Accessible via the EHI website, it enables trusts to add their feedback and rate IT suppliers and systems’ performance. Italso gives details of IT systems’ adherence to NHS standards (published on the Information Standards Boardwebsite). 

The department also announced that raw data about systems will be published on the Connecting for Health website and data.gov.uk to allow third parties to develop aids such as smartphone apps. Intellect, the trade organisation for IT suppliers, is working with the department to develop such initiatives.

DH is also working with the Government Procurement Service on a pan-government supplier information database (SID4GOV) to enable better evaluation and purchase of IT systems.

Katie Davis, managing director of informatics at DH, said: “We are committed to providing the NHS with the insight it needs to take the right decisions in sourcing systems in the future. By making our own core information on our use of IT available for others to add their own expert insight and value, we have made a major step forward in providing the necessary information – for free – to all NHS customers.”


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