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Evaluating the NHS continuing healthcare digital specification project

Our experts have helped to develop the national NHS continuing healthcare digital specification

Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is a complex, important and high cost element of clinical commissioning groups’ responsibility for the NHS with over 159,000 individuals receiving funding during 2017/18 and a total spend of £3.1bn on standard and fast track care packages. Having identified the considerable benefits that could be achieved nationally in the widescale digitisation of CHC services, NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) decided to evaluate the NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Strategic Improvement Programme (SIP) specification for the provision of a digital CHC service. Our Digital Innovation Unit undertook the evaluation with operational input from our CHC service.

Our Digital Innovation Unit led a gap analysis from a technical perspective, focusing on:

·         cyber security standards

·         interoperability standards and application programme interface standards.

Our CHC experts led a gap analysis from a CHC operational perspective, including a review of the specification against the current national standards.

The ability and willingness of the market to react was assessed via interviews with several solution providers who had been involved with the SIP during development of the CHC Digital Specification.

We developed a maturity matrix to assist CCGs and service delivery partners in understanding where their own CHC services aligned to an ‘end-to-end’ digital service and where there were gaps. We also produced an example CHC digital roadmap showing the steps a digitally immature CHC service would need to take.

The NHSE CHC SIP aim is ‘to provide fair access to NHS CHC in a way which ensures better outcomes, better experience and better use of resources.’ This project contributes to that aim across all the programme goals, with the CHC Digital Specification being one of the key enablers.

An early outcome of this project has been the inclusion by NHSE of the CHC Digital Commissioning Specification and CHC Digital Consultancy Services within the October 2019 Health Support Services Framework (HSSF). This is a vital enabling step supporting the move towards a digital CHC market.

The Digital Innovation Unit have added considerable value to the development of the NHSE national Continuing Healthcare Digital Specification project. Their technical and digital expertise has helped shape the specification and support this important project move towards market readiness. Thank you.

Mathew Watt, Senior Project Lead, Digital CHC, Continuing Healthcare Strategic Improvement Programme, NHS England & NHS Improvement

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