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NHS invites suppliers to apply to join latest tech marketplace

Health service launches new IT framework for suppliers offering technologies that can transform GP operations

NHS Digital has invited IT suppliers to join a new framework to create a market for cloud-based technologies aimed at GP surgeries.

The Tech Innovation Framework, as it is known, aims to widen the choice of technologies that could change how surgeries operate.

NHS Digital, which issued an invite to tender, said any organisation can join the framework if its technologies offer GPs different ways of working around six core functions: patient information maintenance, appointments management, recording consultations, prescribing, referral management and resource management.

“The framework will be a blueprint for introducing the next generation of standards for IT systems,” said NHS Digital.

Helen Clifton, executive director for product delivery at NHS Digital, said: “This is a key step forward on our journey to putting patients at the heart of everything we do by ensuring that primary care benefits from the very latest technology.

“The new framework will introduce new solutions into the market to work alongside our current GP offer, providing greater choice and different user experiences.

“It will give GPs access to innovative solutions that feature tools they need to make their jobs easier and services which enhance the care they provide patients.”

This is the next stage in the GP IT Futures programme, which was launched in May 2019 to replace the GP System of Choice (GPSoC) framework, with the aim of simplifying IT provisioning for surgeries and creating a competitive systems marketplace for primary care.

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Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has announced the government’s priorities around driving digital transformation in the NHS, in areas such as personalised care and the roll-out of digital social care records.

Speaking at an industry event in February, Javid outlined the objectives around driving a “more inclusive digital health service”, with a series of reforms intended to benefit patients and staff by helping to clear the Covid-19 backlog across the system and eventually reduce waiting lists.

Ambitions announced include the aim to have electronic patient records (EPRs) up and running or being implemented in 90% of NHS trusts by December 2023. The government also wants to push for a full adoption of digital social care records to tackle a reliance on paper-based processes – about 40% of providers still work entirely on a paper-based system.

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