Miro Novak - Fotolia

NWIS and Life Sciences Hub Wales to create digital health ecosystem

The NHS Wales Informatics Service and Life Sciences Hub Wales have joined forces to launch a digital health and care network to help tech companies access the sector and share innovations

Life Sciences Hub Wales and NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) have partnered up to create an ecosystem to deliver better care through digital applications and services.

The project, called the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW) network, will initially run for two years until March 2020.

Its aim is to help tech suppliers gain access to the health and care sector and enable innovation across Wales. The life sciences hub’s role will be to engage stakeholders through holding events and information sharing meetings, aiming to encourage cross-sector collaboration.

NWIS, which will provide the technical platform for the project, said the ecosystem provides “a route to tap into NHS expertise and a technical platform to allow approved commercial partners to access demonstration versions of NHS Wales and other systems”.

“Access to the NHS Wales architecture is being delivered in incremental phases and will be delivered via an internet-based interface to enable software developers across the globe to be able to connect their systems,” the NWIS said.

Through the ecosystem, NWIS plans to create an application programming interfaces (API) library, which anyone implementing an application in the NHS can use to simplify integration.

The first part of this will be providing access to the NHS Wales Master Patient Index, which includes the demographic details and NHS number of patients.

Read more about healthcare in Wales

In January 2018, an independent parliamentary review found that the health and care system in Wales is in dire need of change, including better uptake and use of technologies.

Digital technology is vital in enabling better quality of care, and the Welsh NHS must “maximise the benefits of technology and innovation to pursue the quadruple aim and deliver more effective and efficient care”, the report said.

It added that “principal concerns include integration challenges, and the need for common standards, data and systems interoperability”.

The report also called on the Welsh government, as well as all digital and infrastructure service delivery organisations across both health and care, to reassess their strategic priorities, increase collaboration and foster a culture with a joined-up approach.

Last year, NHS Digital launched an Open API lab to drive and create APIs for use in health and social care.

Read more on Healthcare and NHS IT

Data Center
Data Management