New NHS database will succeed with open source and agile, says supplier

Derek du Preez | Computerworld UK | January 17, 2013

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt wants paperless NHS by 2018

The success of the NHS’ new national database, dubbed SPINE 2, will be down to the use of open source technologies and agile development techniques, according to its supplier BJSS. The original SPINE database was core to the previous government’s failed National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

SPINE has delivered a national infrastructure service that supports programmes such as the Summary Care Record (SCR), Choose & Book (CAB), Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), GP2GP, Quality Management & Analysis System (QMAS), Secondary Uses Service (SUS) and NHS Number. The Spine handles vast volumes of transactions, it contains NHS Numbers and demographic data for over 70 million patients which is requested or amended more than 2.6 billion times a year...

Nigel Wilson, head of development for BJSS, the company selected in June of last year to work with NHS Connecting for Health to help build the new database, told Computerworld UK...“In terms of what the new platform will do, it moves away from a lot of proprietary software and a really heavy infrastructure, and reduces the number of NHS racks of servers down from hundreds to tens.” He added: “There is a huge amount of savings to be made – in terms of the running costs, the infrastructure and the man power to manage it.”