I spoke at NHS Expo about the critical importance of standards in the development of digital, data and technology products for the NHS. Our technology landscape is very heterogenous and interoperability is poor. This increases costs because we are not taking advantage of economies of scale, increases errors and introduces delays in the transmission of data from one system to another, which in turn has patient safety implications, and delays the digitisation of those parts of the system still very poorly served by technology.
Today we are publishing, for consultation, a draft new NHS Digital, Data and Technology Standards Framework, which describes our new expectations around the use of data, interoperability, and design standards within the NHS. This sets a new bar for quality and efficiency. Our new standards will be demanding and much work will be necessary across all NHS organisations and within supplier communities to move quickly towards achieving these higher expectations.
NHS organisations will be supported in meeting this challenge. NHS Digital and the NHS Chief Information Officer stand ready to provide guidance and help resolve issues. At the same time, these new expectations will, increasingly over time, be reflected as conditions that trusts need to meet when making IT investments. NHS Improvement will take account of trusts' compliance with these standards in line with its oversight and improvement responsibilities.
As we see migration towards standards, we will quickly see an increase in our ability to share data across the system, an increase in our ability to analyse and drive insights from the huge amount of data we hold across the system, and an ability to procure and redeploy technology with greater efficiency and at lower cost than has ever been possible historically.
Over the coming weeks, we will publish the detailed specifications for each of the standards referenced in the new framework, starting with Clinical Data Standards. We will publish proposed target standards openly and seek inputs from colleagues across the system and from the external supplier landscape. We will absorb feedback and use it to guide both the specific content of standards and the approach taken to mandating key standards and to enforcement.
I want to start this work immediately. We welcome the involvement of the whole community in shaping these and I urge you to participate in this discussion. By Christmas, we want to have consulted on all elements of the standards and published a first draft in each case.
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
Secretary of State for Health and Social care