Doctors using a computer to access patient data

Better joined-up care and reduced discharge delays through new software

A new piece of software is being rolled out next year, with the aim of supporting the delivery of improved joined-up care, tackling waiting lists, and reducing discharge delays for millions of patients.

The Federated Data Platform will collate existing NHS data that is held in separate systems, to ensure that staff can access important information that is vital to ensuring that care is provided in a better and more timely manner. Information that will be part of the system includes:

  • The number of beds available in a hospital
  • The size of waiting lists
  • Staff rosters
  • Availability of medical supplies and social care places

The contract to provide the software went through an open and competitive tender process and was eventually awarded to Palantir Technologies UK. This contract will see investment increasing over the course of seven years, with the first year expecting to benefit from £25.6 million. Over the seven years, investment of up to £330 million is anticipated.

Doctors using a computer to access patient data

Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS National Director for Transformation, said:

“Better use of data is essential for the NHS to tackle waiting times, join up patient care and make the health service sustainable for the future. Patients come to the NHS at some of the most vulnerable points in their lives, and they want to know that our healthcare teams have access to the best possible information when it comes to their treatment and care.

“This new tool provides a safe and secure environment to bring together data, which enables us to develop and deliver more responsive services for patients and will help the health service drive the recovery in elective care.”

Projects to pilot the new approach saw a successful reduction in waiting times for planned care, as well as a drop in discharge delays.

Products that are supported by the current data platform will be transitioned to the new system over the course of a six-month implementation period, before being rolled out in spring next year. As a part of this, every hospital trust and health system will have their own version of the platform, however they will be able to share and connect information between them.

NHS Confederation’s Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor, added:

“Health leaders will welcome the introduction of the Federated Data Platform as an important tool to help organisations across the NHS more rapidly connect and access data, free up vital clinical time and deliver more efficient, faster and safe care for patients.

“For the platform to succeed, it will also be crucial that the public continue to be engaged with, and that any concerns they have on the sharing of their data are addressed meaningly. Likewise, Government and the wider NHS will need to ensure that there are adequate numbers of staff working in digital and patient data roles.

“We hope the new platform will offer much-needed capacity for many Integrated Care Systems and for those systems that have already built their own effective platforms, we welcome both the assurance that they will be able to decide if and when to opt into it, and that they will continue to be supported.”


Image credit: iStock

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