NHS England has started its procurement process for a Federated Data Platform, part of the UK government’s digital agenda to harness technological breakthroughs and drive transformation across the NHS and social care. The platform will support and enable transformative improvements across the health system and create an ecosystem of technologies and services.
At Quantexa, we have a history of solving tough data unification challenges in multiple sectors of the economy and we want to bring this wealth of experience into this programme. It is our belief that a successful FDP should create intellectual property to be owned by the NHS, not its technology partners, and foster an environment of trust between the NHS care providers and its patients.
Our bid is based on the NHS and ICSs running the technology themselves and retaining autonomy to build the services they need and adapt the platform as those needs evolve. This vision requires a multi-vendor model involving a number of partner companies and trusted experts, each with the ability to provide the NHS with best-in-class technology and capabilities that ensure the platform delivers long-term value – in the hands of the NHS.
We’re experienced in doing just this. To date, we support three of the world’s top banks and we’re responsible for connecting their siloed data. Regulators have seen the efficacy gains of our work here and we can apply the same principles to the NHS.
Find out more about the FDP and our potential involvement below.
The NHS Launches Federated Data Platform Programme
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) began its journey to transform how it uses data to improve healthcare – with remarkable progress to date.
These possibilities have been realised following the UK government’s temporarily easing of restrictions on the sharing of medical data[i]. Emergency regulations introduced under COPI (the Control of Patient Information Regulations) have enabled the NHS to access data held by 160 hospital trusts and 6,500 General Practice surgeries[ii], all of which have disparate data.
The Ambition to Digitally Transform the NHS
The NHS has now launched an ambitious plan to build a new Federated Data Platform (FDP) to enable transformational improvements in healthcare. The planned FDP is an integrated data platform that will be owned and controlled by the NHS to unlock the value of NHS data. Ahead of an open procurement, the NHS has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gather information from potential suppliers. Following a supplier briefing in June, multiple organisations from technology companies to system integrators have submitted RFIs to the NHS, prior to a formal “Invitation to Tender” (ITT) which will be issued later this year.
The FDP will enable extensive transformation in patient care by connecting and integrating patient data with other data sources across the NHS to allow effective real-time decisioning across clinicians and government officials. The FDP programme presents a huge opportunity for improving healthcare in the UK and could serve as a model for other national or regional healthcare systems.
Now is not the time to slow down or pause for breath, when the opportunities are so vast, and the momentum is so great. To the contrary, now is the time to grow our gains.
The Journey So Far: A National Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Following the pandemic outbreak, NHS England worked with NHSX, a new unit leading the digital transformation of nationwide healthcare, and several partnering organisations to launch a national effort to “keep the public safe and provide the best possible response to the virus”[ii] by establishing the NHS Covid-19 Data Store. The NHS worked closely with US software company Palantir to help reduce the backlog of patients waiting for elective care after the pandemic. The solution brings together data within a hospital, such as theatre schedule and staff rostering, and makes it available on a single platform[iii]. A pilot at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital claims to have cut the in-patient waiting list by 28 percent.
However, Palantir’s involvement with the NHS since March 2020 has been subjected to controversy due to the lack of transparency of the contract and misalignment of values. With legal action following the extension of the contract in December 2020, the NHS has promised transparency in future deals[iv]. Open Democracy, the organisation behind the lawsuit, has declared it supports the use of health data to benefit the NHS and care – “but only with public trust”[v].
There is now a potential to go beyond cleaning up data in the waiting list database by stitching together data from multiple datasets, stored in different places, to uncover new insights that will improve care pathways and drive operational efficiencies. Unlocking one of the most valuable assets the NHS has can only be achieved if the data is securely joined.
The Next Phase: A Better Healthcare System for Patients and Practitioners
Flash forward to today. The NHS is focusing on recovery from the pandemic, prioritising the backlog of patients who urgently require healthcare services. The next phase of delivering a Federated Data Platform will focus on creating automated workflows, allowing more integrated ways of working, using high-quality data and analytics to recover from backlog, and moving from reactive to proactive data-driven decisions.
Potential contributions of the FDP to overcoming NHS challenges:
Critical Success Factors: What Will Make the FDP a Success?
The FDP programme is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform health and care in the UK – and a chance for the UK to set a leadership example for other nations. There is much at stake – for the NHS, the frontline care providers and the public. The NHS has set the requirements and a number of the world’s leading technology providers will raise their hands to help with this effort.
Picking the right set of partners will be critical to the future success of this project and the transformation of the UK’s healthcare system. With the wide breadth of requirements, it may take more than one company to solve this challenge.
So, what will the NHS likely be looking for in its partners?
Quantexa believe the following factors will be essential to making the FDP project successful:
- The ability to build and maintain trust
- The capability to unify the NHS’s extensive data
- Using open architecture and open standards
- Leveraging world-class technology and partners to drive the programme
Why Quantexa Is Getting Involved
The NHS puts each and every single one of us at the heart of what it does. We all witnessed first-hand the truly inspiring, brave and selfless work our unsung heroes did during the pandemic, and we’ve all – in our own unique way – felt a sense of gratitude and relief to have the NHS by our side at one point or another.
At Quantexa, we are an innovative British scale-up, and as one of the fastest growing tech companies in the UK we’re highly experienced in helping organisations across a variety of sectors to solve some of their biggest business challenges with data.
As a UK-headquartered company, we rely on the NHS as patients, we get what the organisation stands for and we are passionate about seeing a data-led modernisation of its capability.
Quantexa is perfectly suited to help the NHS deliver this programme. Our experience in delivering data management solutions to organisations in complex environments means we are well placed to connect the NHS’s wealth of data and put it to work, driving operational efficiency and better health outcomes for patients.
Why Quantexa Is Uniquely Positioned
At Quantexa, we have a history of solving tough data unification challenges in multiple sectors of the economy. We bring unstructured data together; extract meaning and help organisations to make better decisions.
For example, we have a proven record supporting helping businesses to:
One critical key to the success of the NHS data initiative is to build public trust and confidence. Trust is paramount in healthcare – including the trust between an individual patient and his/her physician or other healthcare providers. Additionally, the trust we collectively have in public health agencies and leaders and how much trust we have that our personal healthcare data will be protected and used properly.
In recent months, patients have demonstrated an unwillingness to have their data shared where they do not trust that their data will be managed and used correctly. The NHS has established clear guidelines (the Caldicott Principles[vi]) to instill confidence in citizens about how their data is used. The NHS has many assets, but one of the most valuable is that it is a unique institution in UK society and benefits from extremely high levels of public support.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) outlines three core requirements to generate trust in health data sharing:
- Building greater awareness and understanding in how health data is used
- Providing robust protections for people’s private information and how it is shared
- Sharing clear processes that explain the benefits of research using health data
The Federated Data Platform aims to deliver high-quality data and increase transparency and patient understanding of how data is used positively. By adopting new privacy-enhancing technologies, the NHS will be able to enable the safer sharing and linkage of data between authorised parties. It will be important to build trust and confidence in the NHS FDP across NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups, ICSs, Ministers and Parliament, but most importantly with patients.
Health data is collected from patients and members of the public, and – in order for it to be used to support the development of new treatments – patients and members of the public must have trust and confidence that their personal information will be used only in the way that they choose, it is securely protected when it is used, and that its use will be carefully governed.
Quantexa, a leading global provider of Contextual Decision Intelligence solutions, and a UK headquartered business operates to the highest ethical standards and has designed its technology platform to ensure the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fully explainable and auditable, ensuring that citizens and patients can have confidence in how the technology will use and protect their data. Quantexa has created an AI Ethics Board to help ensure that it follows the highest ethical standards on this issue. Establishing a public/private partnership with the world’s leading technology providers will bring together years of collective experience that the public will benefit from.
A successful FDP will requires a partner that can bring NHS data into a single view – which will be the foundational backbone of this effort. This is the biggest challenge as siloed data records lack a holistic view of patient records – preventing the NHS from providing integrated patient care and being able to access the right information to effectively plan.
Public private partnerships are being rapidly recognized as a key model to allow secure information intelligence sharing and technical innovation. Given the complexity and inconsistency of data being shared, it is fundamental that a single connected view of data is created – this is known as entity resolution. Entity Resolution is a critical capability to connect data from multiple sources to enable highly accurate data that you can trust for making critical decisions Quantexa technology will help ensure that.
The Cabinet Office has also used Entity Resolution technology to support efforts to identify fraud in the COVID-19 bounce-back loans and assist in the fight against financial crime. During the pandemic, fraudulent and illegal organizations are alleged to have abused the Government’s support system to defraud the UK taxpayer. By using technology to reveal hidden connections and relationships, the Cabinet Office is able to surface suspicious activities for future investigations.
This approach has also been used extensively across the financial services and banking industry, with global banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank using Entity Resolution, as the ultimate data matching approach to enhance financial crime compliance programs. By connect data at scale, these banks have been able to create a unified, accurate, holistic view to aid decision-making around risk and operational planning as well as ground breaking efficiency gains.
A key element of the FDP project is to create an IP owned by the NHS and UK plc. It will require the creation of a marketplace of applications which can help facilitate the delivery of different health services and benefits, with “apps” that can be created by many different developers and firms, large and small. That goal will be far easier to achieve if the FDP project utilizes open standards technology. With open standards and open architecture, organisations can readily combine tools from many different companies. That encourages innovation, enhances flexibility and makes technology “future proof” (more protected from becoming obsolete over time). Some people call this a “glass box” approach and compare it to the “black box” (proprietary, not open) approach some tech companies use.
Quantexa’s open architecture approach will enable NHS to migrate legacy applications and data, as well as take advantage of the latest emerging technologies and innovations. Our platform can be integrated with existing IT systems so investments to date aren’t wasted, helping to lower the overall cost of the program.
Data saves lives. Information collected by health and care [organisations] helps to improve individual care, speed up diagnosis, plan local services and research new treatments[…] It also saves everybody time and NHS and care services money that can be put back into patient care. The urgency of the pandemic has driven unprecedented digital transform.
The Department of Health and Social Care
Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data, June 2022
A final factor for the FDP to be a success, the NHS should leverage world-class technology providers, public officials, data privacy experts and former public health officials to help transform health data sharing. Using a team approach for the FDP project by involving a number of highly-qualified partner companies and trusted experts in their field – offers many benefits. By creating a full ecosystem of data application providers, best in-class data and AI technology, data infrastructure companies and system integrators may just provide the NHS with best-in-class tools, technology and capabilities to the project, reducing risks, and ensuring that the right resources are in place when and where needed.
We’ve seen the dramatic impact that better data management systems can have, helping government and private sector organizations make better decisions and improve their performance — whether their mission is providing healthcare, fighting fraud, preventing money-laundering, offering financial services or serving citizens and consumers in other ways. Quantexa clients realizing those benefits include HSBC, NatWest and the UK Cabinet Office.
From our CEO Vishal Marria to our many Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in data management, key industries, advanced analytics, entity resolution, network generation, data quality, and IT security. If selected, our team would be able to bring the brightest minds and deep experience to the NHS FDP project. And, most importantly, there is a genuine passion on our team for helping make this project successful.
“What I have learned already is how important better health data sharing can be for improving the health of many of the most vulnerable people and sectors in UK society. I genuinely believe the FDP programme could have a major positive impact on this issue and we would love to have the chance to work on it.
Dan Onions, Global Head of Data Management at Quantexa.
What Happens Next?
This project is a huge opportunity that benefits the entirety of the UK – a chance to use data for good. The upcoming decisions will have an impact on the future care for the nation and set the standards on how governments work with the public to ensure data is being use in a responsible way that benefits the good of society and protects the rights of the individual.
We expect the NHS to formally engage the market through a public procurement process in summer 2022 with the successful supplier or suppliers commencing work later in the year.
“Digital and data are the essential building blocks of all successful organisations. It’s only possible to make effective decisions, meet customer needs and respond to new challenges and opportunities when you have modern technology, real-time access to high quality data, a cadre of skilled digital talent and the right conditions for innovation to thrive.Paul Willmott, Executive Chair, Central Digital and Data Office
This initiative is a huge opportunity and other countries may be watching as the NHS is not shying away from ground-breaking work to make a great improvement to society. When approached in the right way, the explosion of data can be used to organisations advantages – and that includes health data. With a contextual view of data that you can trust, you can improve operational and strategic decision-making to support digital transformation.
Book a demo
See how our Contextual Decision Intelligence platform helps you better understand your customers, enables data-driven decision making and reduces enterprise risk.
Digital Transformation Across the Public Sector
Increase collaborations, prevent fraudulent refunds, identify VAT fraud, offshoring, profit shifting & other tax evasion methods.
Overcome the challenges around provider onboarding and payment fraud by using context, and unlock the value of your data.
Increase compliance, improve risk management, spot companies with prior violations & false declarations, identify “port shoppers,” trade-based money laundering.
Confirm true identities, prevent the entry of high-risk individuals.
Fraud, waste & abuse investigation
Proactively identify fraud, reduce fraud rates, increase investigative efficiency, prioritize highest likelihood cases, reduce COVID-19 related fraud.