National Health Service (NHS) trusts and their providers are now fully engaged in the process of adapting to the e-Procurement Strategy, the initiative that aims to make all processes related to procurement in the health sector electronic. This ambitious project was announced in 2014 and its execution may foreseeably extend beyond 2018.
The e-Procurement Strategy came about after a series of breakthroughs by the British Department of Health (DoH), which promoted use of the technology in the sector. In fact, 7 years before launching the strategy, the Coding for Success report was published, where the DoH already encouraged the use of GS1 standards for identification of patient background records and product files.
However, the e-procurement strategy’s main predecessor is the text Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care. In this document, the DoH explicitly committed to undertake a digitization strategy for the NHS procurement system. In addition, it noted that this technological leap would necessarily be linked to the use of international standards (PEPPOL and GDSN) to make interoperability possible.
In any case, these prior documents to the grand NHS project are based on tried and tested experiences worldwide, both in the healthcare field and retail or banking. This is one of the points most emphasised by the DoH when defending the strategy. All the measures proposed have already been carried out in other countries or sectors, with positive results.
Despite these precedents, the e-Procurement Strategy technology project is still one of the most ambitious and far-reaching in terms of modernization of supply chain management, affecting a large industrial sector in its entirety. This is because it is the first time that all these tried and tested initiatives have been brought together under a single strategy, destined to completely change the commercial, logistical and administrative management of the British public health service.
Would you like to know more?
The EDICOM team has drafted a White Paper on the NHS e-Procurement Strategy, which you can download here free of charge. It covers the main aspects of this initiative, ranging from the measures being taken to how healthcare suppliers can handle the adaptation.
In addition, on September 28 healthcare sector specialists from EDICOM will be taking part in Procurement In Healthcare (PIH), the benchmark event for the sector which takes place on London. Booking for the event is now open, by registration on the website.