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NHS Providers launches advice on how to get the best out of technology suppliers

Yesterday, NHS Providers launched Digital Delivery Principles, the fifth guide in its series published from the Digital Boards development programme. This is a free offer available to all provider trusts delivered in partnership with Public Digital and supported by Health Education England, NHS England, and NHS Improvement through their Digital Readiness Education Programme.

The guide sets out eight guiding principles intended to help trusts improve how they deliver digital services and avoid common mistakes. These include ‘deliver things that patients and staff need’, ‘build trust not barriers’, and ‘avoid sticking to the wrong plan’.

One of the principles, ‘get the best out of technology suppliers’, is of particular importance for techUK’s member organisations in the health and social care space.

This contains the following recommendations:

  1. Buy the right things, in the right way: Customers should, as early as possible, know what technologies (whether established or customisable) they need and then ensure that subsequent technology and purchasing decisions are coordinated across an ICS. Flexibility is essential as ‘building good digital services requires a user-centred, iterative approach.’
  2. Bring together digital and commercial experts: Smart buying decisions require in-house digital and commercial experts who can overcome ‘familiarity bias’ and understand when a technology may be unsuitable, substandard, or incompatible. Sometimes, the best solutions can come from either small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) or companies that operate completely outside the NHS ecosystem.
  3. Beware of magic, turn-key solutions: Even ‘off-the-shelf’ systems require a (potentially significant) degree of customisation, meaning that teams should do their due diligence prior to procuring any solution that does not perfectly align with their requirements.
  4. Keep your options open: Avoid getting ‘locked-in’ to procured technologies and mitigate this risk by seeking to fully understand what guarantees you have been given, how the solution stores and uses data, and any terms behind adapting it to future uses.

You can click here to view the recommendations in full or here for a library of further reading.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Rory Daniels, techUK’s Programme Manager for Social Care, at

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