NHS Open-Source Spine 2 Platform To Go Live Next Week

Caroline Baldwin | ComputerWeekly.com | August 20, 2014

A new iteration of the NHS platform that connects clinicians, patients and national applications is due to be completed this coming weekend.  Considered by the government to be critical national infrastructure, the Spine platform is a communications hub that connects key IT services developed as part of the troubled NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT). The services include electronic prescriptions and GP2GP, which enables patients’ electronic health records to be transferred directly and securely between GP practices. On a typical day, 275,000 people connect to Spine.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has teamed up with IT consultancy BJSS to develop Spine 2 using the Riak open-source database.  Andrew Meyer, programme head for Spine 2 at the HSCIC, said the team has transitioned all the data across and the service will be ready to go live over the bank holiday weekend.  “There has been lots of preparation,” said Meyer. “We’ve got to a point where we have a 10-minute place, so every 10 minutes we know exactly where we should be and what we’re doing during the switchover.

“A key priority is to ensure there is little impact on the NHS and the service because this is fundamental to the NHS and the way it operates. We are very aware we have to make the transition as painless as possible for the NHS and we have worked really hard to do that.”  The NHS has been rebuilding its Spine platform over the last 18-24 months using open-source software...