NHS Wales Informatics Service partners with life sciences hub

The initiative, known as the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales network, will initially run for a period of two years.

[Cardiff, Wales] The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) has launched a partnership with the Life Sciences Hub Wales to accelerate uptake of innovation across the health and care sector.

Known as the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW) network, the collaboration will initially run for two years.

The NWIS will provide the technical platform, while the Life Sciences Hub will organise a series of events to encourage sharing of best practice examples and to engage a variety of stakeholders.

Helen Northmore, Programme Delivery Manager at the Life Sciences Hub, is leading the initiative.

Launching the project at an event in March, Ifan Evans, Deputy Director of Healthcare Technology Innovation and Strategy at the Welsh government, said the vision is to create a ‘multi-stakeholder group committed to working together on a regular basis in order to implement innovative solutions across the health and care system in Wales’.

The NWIS says access to the NHS Wales architecture will be delivered in ‘incremental phases’, initially focusing on the NHS Wales Master Patient Index, which includes demographic details of patients.

"Integrated care needs integrated information."

The NWIS has also released a Software Development Kit, which it says provides ‘the first phase of a series of publications to support NHS Wales organisations and other partners in the public and private sector detailed information to enable standardised application development’.

It is expected that a library of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will be created through the new network to simplify integration and interoperability with the national NHS Wales architecture.

A parliamentary review and a Welsh audit office report published at the beginning of the year found that challenges around the lack of interoperability, the need for common standards and a ‘limited capacity’ to implement change were causing severe delays in the digitisation of the health and care system in Wales.

In a blog for BJ-HC, Andrew Griffiths, NWIS Chief Information Officer, said: 

"The Welsh Audit Office report and the parliamentary review have given us a real opportunity to be honest about the challenges and recognise how important informatics is.

"Indeed they recognise that we are not going to manage to face the demands on our health and care services without addressing the need to digitally transform services by giving our staff the information to do their jobs in new ways and giving our citizens the ability to engage digitally.

"Integrated care needs integrated information."

Related content:

Wales urged to ‘leverage’ benefits of tech to improve health and care services

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