Suppliers offered opportunity to develop Health and Social Care Standards Register

The UK Government and NHSX have opened a new opportunity to develop a Health and Social Care Standards Register, to provide a core catalogue of existing standards and supporting materials.

The programme aims to ensure there is one place to host the standards that apply to a particular healthcare setting, provider or use case, and how to implement them.

The opportunity, posted on the Gov.UK Digital Marketplace, is open to suppliers – from SMEs to larger companies. According to the posting, the specific project is to “build a digital service that provides a registry of the key data and information standards for health and social care providers, their IT suppliers, standards owners and creators”, as well as for “central teams performing digital and IT assurance and managing procurement frameworks.”

A four-month contract with the potential for a further four months’ extension during ‘Phase 2’ of the project and a budget of up to £500,000 for ‘Phase 1′, have been made available.

The posting emphasises NHSX’s commitment to “setting national open standards for data and interoperability”, as set out in the Technology Vision, but states that “the needs of users of health and social care standards are not currently being met” as there is “no single place to go in order to easily find which standards apply to a particular setting, provider or use case”.

The aim of the work is to “create a digital service” which will provide a catalogue of “existing standards and supporting materials” that users can easily access, as well as “community tools” that will allow standards owners and publishers to “update and maintain” the standards.

A discovery phase has been completed and there is already an alpha of the core catalogue, with the next phase of work seeking to: build the core catalogue features in the open source data management system CKAN, to a grade that would support private beta; create and test in alpha maintenance and contribution models to keep the directory up to date.

The plan is also to develop an “independent frontend” that will “communicate with the data management system using APIs” and to “populate the directory with interoperability standards, APIs and services as supplied by NHSX”  via “APIs, manual methods or website scraping”.

Other research and design aspects will include exploring sustainable models for keeping the directory up to date, involving the interoperability community in standards development, and developing the “service design for the maintenance and contribution functions”.

Essential skills and experience, stated on the posting, include demonstrable: knowledge of the CKAN platform; knowledge or experience of data standards and interoperability; experience of developing a digital service to public beta according to requirements of the government digital service standard, using agile methodology and working in the open; experience of applying the principles of user centred design and service design to the delivery of digital services, according to the government digital service standard; experience of conducting user research and alpha work in the UK health and/or social care system.

Suppliers’ applications will be weighted most heavily on technical competence (60 per cent), followed by the cultural fit criteria (20 per cent) and price (20 per cent). Additional assessment methods will include a case study and presentation.

To find out more about the opportunity and the recruitment criteria, or to apply, click here.

In other standards-related news, The UK Health Data Research Alliance – convened by Health Data Research UK – recently published a Green Paper on data use registers standards.

Intended to provide recommendations on best practice, following consultations with health data research organisations, universities, data custodians and patient groups, the Alliance is now asking for feedback on its suggestions.