NHS Wales advances digital healthcare with data platform

A new national clinical data repository will help to strengthen NHS Wales' digital transformation 

Healthcare in Wales is undergoing a digital transformation, with the recent launch of  Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) to take digitisation forward. This agency replaces the Wales Informatics Service, with the aim of driving digital tools and the use of data across the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales. 

The Welsh healthcare system has in fact been tech-focused for several years, and in 2020 was named the Best Place to Work in IT at the UK IT Awards. 

Vital to this approach is the electronic patient record, along with the Welsh Clinical Portal which makes patient records available to healthcare professionals through a single application. 

The latest development is the creation of a clinical data repository; an open platform which will enable patient records to be shared between clinical systems through common standards, supporting research and more specialised treatments. 

Digital Health and Care Wales has awarded a two-year contract to Better to implement the platform. Better is a technology company based in Slovenia that creates digital platforms and other tools for the healthcare sector. 

Once in place, the Welsh Clinical Portal will make use of the platform to create and retrieve data. 
Additionally the Treatment Repository for Cancer and Welsh Adverse Reactions Service will go live in autumn 2021. 

Rob Jones, Chief Architect at Digital Health and Care Wales, said the new repository will help them shift away from siloed data: “We were looking for an approach that would enable us to move away from siloed data and ease the burden on document storage. We know that we need to deliver a single source of truth for structured clinical data. Simply, providing instant access to patient data, at the fingertips of healthcare decision makers.

"Using an agile approach, underpinned by an open platform with separating applications and data, will allow us to deliver new digital services to clinicians and citizens of Wales, faster.” 

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