Viewpoint: Getting a better NHS IT procurement culture


Steve Lethbridge of Imprivata worries how we can get back to a better procurement culture for tech in the NHS post the National Programme

It is common knowledge that the NHS is under pressure to make efficiency savings of £20bn by 2015 while simultaneously improving the quality of care that it provides. While budgets are extremely tight, Trusts are aware of the benefits that a well thought out and smoothly implemented technology solution can provide - and as we move into a new NHS year, we are seeing that a new wave of IT projects is underway.  Trusts are aware of the benefits that result from sharing best practices with neighbouring NHS organisations and avoiding mistakes being repeated. This sharing of expertise can benefit both efficiency and bottom line costs and yet it’s interesting to see that Trusts in other countries within the UK are also successful using different means to share information, strategies and procurement efforts.  We have seen that NHS Scotland has defined strategies and procured solutions on a nationwide basis. Implementation tips and techniques, use-cases and best practice guidelines are pooled through a centralised information sharing scheme, enabling all NHS Boards to access data that helps to ensure successful deployments. Managers can take full advantage of this knowledge pool as and when required, and the centralised approach also enables representatives to meet and discuss challenges and successes more formally. During the Imprivata OneSign procurement and implementation process in Scotland, for example, the successful pilot scheme at NHS Fife acted as a blueprint for further roll-outs across the nation.