NHS Spine infrastructure overhaul saves £21m in 12 months

NHS tech overhaul saves cash and time

The government has reported that a reworking of the NHS Spine technology backbone has saved £21m in its first year of deployment.

Upgrades to the supporting infrastructure of the communications hub have helped cut running costs when compared with the previous version, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

NHS Spine supports 28,000 organisations in the healthcare sector, including hospitals, GP surgeries and ambulance trusts. It operates 365 days a year, and incorporates a national demographic database of more than 70 million patients. The system handles up to 1,800 transactions a second.

The new version of NHS Spine was launched last year, and HSCIC claimed that it suffered only five minutes of downtime that would have affected the 300,000 NHS workers who log-in to the system on a daily basis.

Alongside significant savings in running costs, NHS Spine delivers an 89 percent reduction in response time compared with the old version.

HSCIC claimed that the NHS “saves 750 hours every single day as a result of this faster, more intuitive technology, releasing time and resources for patient care”.

NHS Spine is intended to be a long lasting upgrade, and has been designed to support future developments in healthcare technology. It will also enable developers and local hospital technical teams to build custom products to cater for specific patient and staff needs.

The second generation of Spine was built in-house by the NHS with support from open source company Basho and software specialist BJSS.

Life sciences minister George Freeman explained that the new system shows that the effective use of technology can deliver positive results for public sector healthcare.

“Digital technologies can transform the ways in which patients can take control of their health and wellbeing,” he said in a speech at the Health and Innovation Expo 2015 in Manchester.

“We are increasingly offering the ability for patients to interact with services digitally, for example ordering prescriptions and booking GP appointments, at their own convenience. This is changing the way patients think about healthcare as we move into an era of increased patient empowerment.”

The NHS has been undergoing several upgrades and overhauls of its IT systems this year with support from major technology companies.

IBM helped modernise the NHS electronic staff record system with mobile access, and HP overhauled Cambridge University Hospitals’ IT in a £200m project.

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4 September 2015 | 4:28 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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