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Tech plan to transform NHS into 'most advanced health system in the world'

The tech revolution is coming to the NHS
– Matt Hancock

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has published a new technology masterplan for the National Health Service (NHS), designed to transform it into the "most advanced health and care system in the world".

The vision outlines plans to introduce minimum technical standards that digital services and IT systems in the NHS will have to meet.

Any system that fails to meet the standards will be phased out and the government will look to end contracts with providers who do not "understand the principles" for the health and care sector.

Outside the standards, all trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will still have the freedom to buy what they need – a move that looks to encourage competition on user experience and create "better tools for everyone".

Hancock said the move would mean that "outdated and obstructive" NHS IT systems will become a thing of the past.

"The tech revolution is coming to the NHS," he said.

"These robust standards will ensure that every part of the NHS can use the best technology to improve patient safety, reduce delays and speed up appointments.

"A modern technical architecture for the health and care service has huge potential to deliver better services and to unlock our innovations.

"We want this approach to empower the country’s best innovators – inside and outside the NHS – and we want to hear from staff, experts and suppliers to ensure our standards will deliver the most advanced health and care service in the world."

As well as being an opportunity for tech companies currently operating in the fitness sector, the move could potentially be good news for fitness and physical activity operators.

It could make it easier for operators to get involved in patient care – through initiatives such as GP referrals – if they have means to track and record progress and report back to the NHS.

According to Sarah Wilkinson, CEO at NHS Digital, this could be achieved by ensuring that systems "talk to each other".

"Greater standardisation of data, infrastructure, platforms and APIs will create a health and care system that is more joined-up, and as a result safer and more efficient," she said.

"Connected systems ensure that clinicians have immediate access to all relevant and appropriate patient data from all care providers and settings, and ensure that data is communicated between systems with absolute fidelity, eliminating misinformation and misunderstandings."

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Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has published a new technology masterplan for the National Health Service (NHS), designed to transform it into the "most advanced health and care system in the world".
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