Could NHS budget cuts be a boost to IT services sector?

Providing bosses at IT service providers don’t get ill and require NHS treatment the cuts and efficiency drive in the NHS might be good for them.

IT analyst company Ovum is talking about the diverse opportunities that NHS reforms will offer IT services firms.

Ovum said: “As the massive growth in UK healthcare funding grinds to a halt, there will be a growing focus on smart health informatics strategies and cloud-based agile technology to help realise efficiencies.”

“There will be stronger emphasis on collaboration across a more diverse range of ICT suppliers, including a big push towards shared services.”

New bodies such as the 19 Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) will also play a key role in IT strategy and procurement. The Chief Clinical Information Office (CCIO) will become a key influencer in ICT development and procurement, particularly in the area of health informatics, which is emerging as a growing priority at an executive level and is in line with the government’s drive to implement its 10-year information strategy.

“Complexity” has become synonymous with healthcare. However, the nature and the pace of the changes to the NHS have left many fearing that complexity will remain and, in some cases, increase, at least in the short term” says Charlotte Davies, leader of Ovum’s healthcare technology practice. “While we’re sure that suppliers, certainly of primary care IT, will have to deal with a piecemeal and changing environment for a while yet, it is becoming clear which organisations -from the new local health and wellbeing boards to the national HSCIC and regional CSUs – suppliers should cultivate relationships with.”

Ovum thinks the NHS will open up to more suppliers. “…many organisations are keen to bring on new suppliers, as a number of large contracts expire and the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) contracts terminate. Although Ovum does not expect a radical shake-up in the short term, its research indicates that a combination of shared services initiatives, involving closer collaboration between local authorities and healthcare providers, a greater use of G-cloud and new partnerships between different suppliers will result in a gradual increase in supplier diversity.”

I recently wrote a blog about how the recent NHS reorganisation might have created the NHS IT services model of the future?

I had a conversation with Nathan Allmont, who is Infrastructure Manager at Dudley IT Services. The story of the company is really interesting and shows an alternative way of delivering IT to NHS organisations. It is interesting because the model allows the NHS to make money from its IT by selling services. Read the blog here.