The Federated Data Platform integrates diverse patient data sets. NHS England asserts that this integration streamlines access to vital information, facilitating improved and timelier patient care for healthcare staff.
The National Health Service (NHS) England has awarded a $412.66 million contract to Palantir, the US-based data analytics group, to develop a cutting-edge patient data platform.
The platform, named the Federated Data Platform (FDP), aims to streamline and enhance access to critical patient information, ultimately improving the efficiency and timeliness of healthcare services. The announcement revealed that the platform is set to be rolled out next year.
Led by chief executive Alex Karp and co-founded by prominent tech investor Peter Thiel, Palantir rose to prominence as a key data analytics provider for the NHS during the challenging coronavirus pandemic. The newly contracted Federated Data Platform is anticipated to revolutionise how healthcare professionals access and utilise existing patient data sets, facilitating improved patient care across the board.
The Federated Data Platform is designed to act as a centralised hub, bringing together various patient data sets from different sources. NHS England states this integration will make it "easier for staff to access key information to provide improved and more timely patient care."
The platform will play a pivotal role in connecting NHS trusts and integrated care systems, allowing them to manage and coordinate health records efficiently, waiting lists, and staff rosters in a secure and safe environment.
Accenture, PwC, NECS, and Carnall Farrar have been enlisted to support Palantir in the development and implementation of the Federated Data Platform. NHS England emphasised that no company involved in the project will have access to health and care data without explicit permission from the NHS, addressing concerns about data security and privacy.
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins highlighted the platform's significance, stating that it will support key NHS priorities, including the recovery of elective care and the improvement of discharge processes to expedite patient treatment and recovery. Atkins reassured the public that "data will not leave the UK," addressing concerns about private sector companies' access to sensitive healthcare information.
Despite these assurances, human rights group Amnesty International expressed concerns about the implications for data protection. The group urged Palantir to provide "cast-iron guarantees" that health data will not be monetised, emphasising the need for transparency and security of patient information.
Former minister David Davis, a vocal critic of the Palantir contract, voiced concerns about the sensitivity of public health data, stating that medical data cannot be effectively anonymised due to its richness and complexity.
In response to the contract award, Palantir's CEO, Alex Karp, said, "There is no more important institution in the UK than the NHS, and we are humbled to have now been chosen to provide that software across England."
Karp emphasised Palantir's commitment to developing software that integrates complex, sensitive data while prioritising security, privacy, and customer control.
Vin Diwakar, NHS England's National Medical Director for Secondary Care, said, "Better use of data is essential for the NHS to tackle waiting times, join up patient care, and make the health service sustainable for the future."
As the Federated Data Platform moves forward, it remains at the forefront of discussions surrounding data protection, privacy, and the role of private companies in managing sensitive healthcare information.
The successful implementation of this platform has the potential to significantly impact patient care and the overall efficiency of the NHS. At the same time, careful consideration of data governance will be crucial to address public concerns and ensure the ethical use of healthcare data.
Founded in 2003, Palantir Technologies is a publicly traded American company with expertise in big data analytics. Its headquarters are located in Denver, Colorado, and it was established by Peter Thiel, Nathan Gettings, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen, and Alex Karp.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org