NHS signs £4.5m deal to ‘transform’ demographic data use and better match patients to records

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 May 2022 in News

Work aims to make it easier for NHS number to be found, which contract says will help reduce issues such as false death notices

Credit: Mohamed Hassan/Pxhere

NHS Digital has signed a £4.5m contract with a supplier it hopes can “transform” the health service’s use of demographic data.

A key objective of the work will be to increase the use of NHS numbers, making it easier for care providers to access and update patient information. 

The deal, with Danish software firm Netcompany, is intended to deliver improvements to NHS Digital’s Personal Demographic Service, as well the use of demographic information by the health service more widely. 

Work will encompass “several initiatives targeted at increasing the use of NHS number across digital services by making it easier to look up through APIs” as well as supporting an intention to “enhance demographic data quality, and improve timeliness and accuracy of mortality status”.

Several likely projects are identified in the text of the contract – which came into effect in July 2021, but has only just been published.

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Initiatives to supported by the supplier will include “digitisation of the GP practice registration journey to eliminate transcription errors [by] replacing manual General Medical Services forms”.

Work on improvements to APIs, meanwhile, aims to improve “tracing” to better allow users to find their NHS number when providing other personal details – such as name, date of birth and contact details. The aim is to improve this match rate across a suite of online services – including websites for booking Covid vaccinations and tests, as well as the NHS 111 advice service – that currently match users to the correct NHS number about 60-80% of the time, according to the contract.

There is also a desire to improve the success of matching incoming data on deaths to NHS demographic records; the current rate of 95% means there is currently “critical information loss including missed and false death notifications”.

NHS Digital also wishes to work with Netcompany to better enable “third-party point-of-care systems… in trusts and care homes… to find contact information or validate NHS numbers or update patient information”.

The deal will run for an initial period of two years.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

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