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Technology Update
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Three keys to technological transformation in the NHS

16/10/2015

The UK Department of Health has now begun to implement the e-Procurement Strategy announced in 2014. This ambitious project is focused on the National Health Service (NHS) and its entire supply chain. The aim is to improve patient care and safety while boosting productivity and cutting costs, thanks to the automation of processes. But what does technological transformation consist of? We can split the e-Procurement Strategy into three great pillars:

 

  • Database synchronization - The references of all products to be supplied to the NHS are identified and uploaded to an electronic data catalogue. This data pool, from the GDSN network, synchronizes communications between the NHS and its supply chain. This way, the information on the goods is continuously updated. To implement this system, NHS-dependent centres and their suppliers must have an e-catalogue or data pool like the one developed by EDICOM, able to operate in the GDSN network and allow fluid communication in real time.
  • Electronic Data Interchange - To cut down on the use of paper and associated costs, the NHS supply chain must implement an electronic information exchange system. Rollout is due for completion by September 2016 and will include three message types: orders, invoices and delivery notes. These communications take place under the PEPPOL standard, to facilitate interoperability. To this end, suppliers need to engage the services of a PEPPOL-accredited Access Point, such as EDICOM.
  • Internal systems integration with e-Procurement platform - One of the main challenges faced by large-scale sector providers concerns integrating their ERPs with the platform developed by the NHS. Bear in mind that the big laboratories and health product distributors handle vast amounts of product information every day and exchange a high volume of messages with hospitals. Now, what they need to do is extract all these data from their internal systems, transform them into the format required and validate them prior to sending to the public sector.

To this end, EDICOM has a an international Public Administrations HUB which guarantees connectivity with any agency. Moreover, it is able to extract the information transparently, without making internal changes to regular working procedures, and forward it in the format and conditions required.

Rollout of the NHS e-Procurement Strategy began last June and is due for completion by March 2017, as stated in the schedule published by the Department of Health. The deadline for NHS-dependent NHS Trusts and their providers is designed to allow them to adapt gradually to this technological leap forward.

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