NHS England Entrepreneurs Day 2014

It a sign that the NHS is serious about change that so many senior people attended this year’s NHS England entrepreneur day. The rhetoric, and indeed action, has been constant for the last two years – a story of openness, opportunity for SME’s and much better products for the health service.

Not everything has been a success, but when people like Beverly Bryant speak with candour and honesty about what isn’t going so well, you can’t help but believe that the rhetoric has become truth.

As always, these days attract a fair number of people with an axe to grind. It’s important as a supplier community that we call those people out – their contributions are not helpful, and will erode the opportunity for proper dialogue.

In the interoperability session, Indy Sing, Head of Enterprise architecture, gave a positive story of open API’s, and asked us, as the developer community what we wanted more of. We asked for open data, not a reliance on APIs (which suppliers often hide behind, because they’re ‘coming in the next release’).

We asked for help with guidance; better documentation around IG, use of N3 and sharing of data. On that we’re working with NHS England to move the whole health service, and DrDoctor volunteered to act as a liaison for SMEs. Together we can share our case studies and best practice to move the market forward far more quickly.

Tim Kelsey rounded the day off, with a rousing speech. Now, he says, is a golden time to be a health tech entrepreneur. The genome, spearheaded by companies like Geneix, will be the next information revolution, and offers an opportunity unprecedented in our time. NHS England will support SMEs and use of digital technology though a better, more considered take on the US ‘meaningful use’ concept, basing incentive payments around actual use, rather than the act of purchasing.

It really is a great time to be in health tech – the promised changes are starting to happen, the SME, open, digital agenda is making its way down to provider level and there is an exceptional amount of support available – from accelerators like Bethnal Green Ventures (Vicky was in attendance – the latest call for ideas is open now) through research funding like SBRI, to centrally funded schemes like the nursing tech fund.

So get out there, and create!