Does the NHS need another Information Systems framework to work within? I hope so as we have just published one! The Local Portfolio Management System, Systems of Choice, or LPMS SoC for short. A nice neat short name and matching acronym, so it fits with other frameworks from that point of view!
The analogy of the tanker ship taking an age to stop or turn is over used. I would suggest, however, in the case of implementing local interoperable systems into the NHS to be used to support clinical research, it fits neatly. With this in mind we have created a framework for the NHS to reuse; a framework that enables choice at the point of system use but ensures that standards are in place to enable systems to deliver access to end-to-end data and to ensure that the user experience across the NHS geography is of an equally high standard.
We have re-used the idea which had been successfully implemented into primary care to enable GPs to have a choice of primary care systems and so far it has met with success. But why do it this way?
The new hosts of the research networks are contractually obliged to provide an IT system to support clinical research, from April 2014. For the first time in any country the research journey will be supported end-to-end by an information system. An information system that can stretch across the whole clinical research environment. The systems that will be offered will all meet a certain standard for three key areas: system capability, data integrity and service management.
And still the question remains, why? To coordinate research in the NHS through the use of data provides the NHS, and therefore the UK, with a unique point for attracting research to the NHS and aids in the delivery of research outcomes to agreed time and recruitment level targets. As an organisation we no longer want users of IT systems. We don’t even want customers anymore, we want to engender a culture where there are fans of the systems we have deployed. A group of people who want to use the systems because it makes the work they are actually employed to do easier and supports the delivery of the day job, maybe best described as true data integration.
The development of the LPMS SoC sits hand in hand with the delivery of our new Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS), which I have spoken about here before. Enabling a selection of systems to integrate for data services in bi-directional manner to the CPMS enables the research journey to be truly supported by Business Intelligence. The new framework sets out how systems should do this from a technical perspective and from system specification point of view.
The framework has also gone further and set out a series of service management expectations to try to support the process of creating a fan base for the systems, rather than simply a user experience. To support all of this the framework also details the level of data integrity that the systems should deliver, both through the system-to-system connection to the NIHR’s Reference Data Service and through the system inherent tools.
So with the framework in place the tanker ship can be designed to be more agile, it perhaps won’t be able to turn on a sixpence but, with fans of the tanker ship driving it, there should be no need for sudden stops or last minute route changes.