Department of Health sets out technology priorities for coming year

IT for the health sector

Department of Health sets out technology priorities for coming year

Caroline Baldwin

The Department of Health (DoH) has outlined changes in the way technology and information will be used within the department over the coming year.

The DoH claims the “technology revolution” will enable the department to be more efficient and joined up across health and care.


In order to achieve this, the DoH has set out a number of priorities, including aligning public services to meet the government’s Digital by Default agenda and ensuring arm’s length body websites have migrated to the GOV.UK domain.

During the first quarter of the 2014-2015 year, the department will set its technology deliverables, as well as establishing a National Information Board and sub-groups in order to develop a decision-making and commissioning forum.

By the end of the year, the department will aim to be in line with secretary of state Jeremy Hunt’s commitments on e-referrals, e-booking, online booking of prescriptions and patient access to primary care records.

Hunt has stated that 95% of NHS patients will be able to access care records online by April 2015, as well as book GP appointments and order prescriptions.

Hunt also wants the NHS to be paperless by 2018.

The DoH priorities are laid out in the DoH’s Corporate Plan 2014-2015, which was published yesterday.

This month, the DoH appointed Will Cavendish as director general of innovation, growth and technology.

In previous roles, Cavendish was the executive director of the implementation group for the Cabinet Office, and previous to that the director general of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Cavendish has also previously held roles within the DoH, as director of health and wellbeing, and director of strategy.

2014-2015 technology priorities:

First quarter 2014-2015

  • Set direction for secretary of state’s 2014 - 2015 technology deliverables.
  • Establish National Information Board and sub-groups to develop a strategic decision-making and commissioning forum.

Second quarter 2014-2015

  • Complete the audit of DoH transactional services against the government’s digital by default service standard.
  • Produce action plan to align all services to the government’s digital by default service standard.

Third quarter 2014-2015

  • Complete migration of all relevant arm’s length body (ALB) websites to the single government domain, GOV.UK.
  • Publish comparable data on volumes, costs and digital take-up of online and offline health transactions.
  • Publish the National Information Board Informatics Strategy.
  • Introduce tests to ensure all online services for the public meet the government’s minimum digital standards.

Fourth quarter 2014-2015

  • Deliver up to 8,000 whole genome sequences as part of the prime minister’s long-term "100k genomes project" to use this technology to enable the transformation of health outcomes for patients with rare diseases and cancer.
  • Deliver on the prime minister’s commitment to offer £100m to the NHS for nurses and midwives to spend on new technology that will free up time for patient care.
  • Ensure delivery of secretary of state’s commitments on e-referrals, e-booking and online booking of prescriptions.
  • Ensure delivery of secretary of state’s commitments on patient access to primary care records.
  • Include data from a broader range of healthcare settings in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) in order to improve research on health outcomes.


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