NHS England has launched formal competition for its federated data platform, giving providers just one month to bid on the increased contract value of up to £480 million ($581 million) over seven years, as rights groups humans threaten legal action.
Promised as a data repository for NHS population health and operational analysis, the repository is seen as vital to the post-Covid health system recovery and reform of the NHS, one of the world’s largest health providers. .
It is said to be a “Must-Have” Agreement for Palantirthe American spy technology firm that built the Covid data warehouse, from which some of the functionality will be transferred to the new platform.
They haven’t really consulted if they’re going to do this. They decided they were going to do this, and now they’re consulting to justify it.
Privacy advocates and legal groups have been critical of the acquisition process and guarantee of patient privacy surrounding the deal, which has seen Palantir win a series of non-competitive contracts to build early iterations of the platform. data that NHS England considers key to the future of the service. NHS England has an annual budget of around £152.6 billion ($184 billion).
Foxglove legal campaigners said the group and its “partners at Just Treatment, the UK Physicians Association and the National Pensioners Convention have serious concerns about this proposed federated data platform. Almost nothing has been disclosed about what it will do, how it will work, what data it will collect, and how patient trust and consent will be protected.
He added: “We have already written a legal letter with our partners requesting urgent answers to our questions about the Federated Data Platform. If we are not satisfied with the government’s response, we will see them in court.”
The contract value has been increased from £360 million ($436 million) over five years to £480 million ($581 million) over seven years at a time when nurses and paramedics are on strike for pay increases in line with the inflation.
He contract notice Such potential suppliers would have until February 9 to submit their bids, giving them little time to capture the complex technical and operational requirements laid out in the notice. Palantir began work on the Covid-19 data warehouse commissioned by NHS England, a non-care non-departmental government body, in March 2020.
In the documents provided to the suppliers, seen by RegisterNHS England said it planned to “replace the COVID-19 data store (provided by Palantir)”.
“The platform will be a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, enabling the use and sharing of data using a safe and secure environment. The platform will be available to NHS bodies on a consistent basis, with a structure and functionality across users, and allowing data held within consistent structures to be found across the platform, but (more importantly) with governance and ownership of data retained at the organizational level. .., with information governance matters controlled by the relevant organization (as controller under the UK GDPR),” it said.
The document said that the Covid-19 data warehouse “includes some capability within the scope” of the federated data platform requirements. These services are provided under that recently extended call-off contract to Palantir until June 2023. without competition.
Examples given from the “current landscape” include Optica, a patient registration application built on Palantir’s Foundry platform. They also include the Improving Elective Care Coordination for Patients (IECCP) program, which life began at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in a system also built with Palantir.
The hospital’s president, Matthew Swindells, was hired by consultancy Global Counsel, which has Palantir as a client, in September 2019. Swindells, a former national director of operations and information for NHS England, was excluded from “any decision making in relation to Palantir”according to the trust documents.
Among the five “early” use cases for the new federated data platform and associated services include elective recovery, which is reducing the backlog of vital but non-urgent operations that are currently at record levels. They also include plans to support “organizational interfaces” including patient discharge.
NHS England has said of the acquisition that “the competition is open to all suppliers and will comply with all the basic principles of the regulations, including transparency, non-discrimination, equal treatment and proportionality. These principles apply to all providers who choose to bid on the England NHS Federated Data Platform”.
NHS England has been interested in promoting the new acquisition. Timothy Ferris, Country Director of Transformation and Director of Analytics and Data, Ming Tang, said in a blog post that “Acquiring a federated data platform will not only provide trusts and ICS with cutting-edge software to continue to innovate, but the connectivity It will enable us to scale quickly and share innovative solutions that directly address the most pressing challenges for the NHS.
“This will transform the way the NHS delivers its services, allowing organizations to communicate and collaborate more effectively and deliver better care for patients,” they said.
An observer talking to Register they pointed out inconsistencies in the procurement documents that they claimed were revealing. For example, the vendors’ prospectus said that access to the data would be restricted by “a mechanism to evaluate the result, reason, and time of access along with the data that can be accessed.” It also specifies the access controls the user needs to get the job done and should be implemented using a “policy-based access control (PBAC) model.”
However, later in the same document NHS England said, “access to use case data and applications will be strictly controlled using purpose-based access controls” [our emphasis].
Purpose-Based Access Controls they are also a set of “unique tools within the Palantir Foundry,” which allow the platform to restrict access to data in applications including healthcare.
In late 2021, NHS England agreed to further public consultation before expanding its use of the Palantir data warehouse following the threat of judicial review. Data privacy and legal group Foxglove, which helped draft the legal letters, said Register last week it hadn’t seen any of the queries promised during the latest legal round on the COVID data warehouse.
He said today: “As all can see, the NHS is in deep crisis. Dropping half a billion pounds on a data panel is not going to magically put more doctors and nurses on wards, more beds in hospitals or evoke new appointments with the GP. out of the ether At best, this is a distraction from the real problems facing the NHS; At worst, you risk eroding trust in the health service at the worst possible time.”
in a website promoting the new platformEngland’s NHS said it would “engage and actively involve people in decisions about how data is used with the platform and how we best fulfill our duty of transparency and open communication.” He also promised to publish “clear and accessible information about who is accessing the data and for what purpose.” He also pledged to “be clear about people’s rights and the option to opt out (where applicable).”
Sam Smith, coordinator of the independent lobbying group medConfidential, said Register: “What are you consulting? They haven’t really consulted if they’re going to do this. They decided they were going to do this, and now they are consulting to justify it. If you are in the hospital, your data enters [the platform]And the question is who will have access to it and how will you know.”
He added that there was very little clarity about nearly half a billion pounds of public money, “everyone is guessing, which is not a good start.”
“Clearly they think this tender is fit to go, but we have these simple questions that show this is just chaos. It’s going to be vendor driven. And it’s clear from the errors in the tender that it’s not an incumbent vendor with a deadlock on this issue. Good intentions are not enough. NHS England needs to really deliver what it can today, to give some reason to believe in the promises for tomorrow,” Smith said. ®