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New NHS database will succeed with open source and agile, says supplier

Derek du Preez | Jan. 18, 2013
The success of the NHS’ new national database, dubbed SPINE 2, will be down to the use of open source technologies and agile development techniques, according to its supplier BJSS.

"The current arrangement in typical public sector procurements is that you are locked into a big systems integrator for a long time, where they try and push all of the service delivery onto that provider. What we are doing now is working very closely in collaboration with the NHS, so there isn't a them and us culture," said Wilson.

BJSS will work with NHS Connecting for Health to build the core services of 'Spine 2' - PDS, EPS, SCR and TMS - in a series of iterative development blocks (each four weeks). The company will also develop options to replace the user interfacing systems that access Care Records and Demographics Services, while ensuring the existing external interfaces remain unchanged to ensure there is no adverse impact on existing connected systems.

"I think the key thing is the shift in the way of working towards agile principles, which really de-risks the programme - it enables early integration and reduces the chance of any problems," Wilson added.

"SPINE currently has 20,000 systems integrated into it and BJSS has already carried out a proof of concept that delivered a working service, which we have now pushed out and are doing early integration testing with the third party developers that hook into SPINE."


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