The professional services firms that are helping NHS embrace technology

29 October 2018 8 min. read

The NHS has appointed nearly 80 consulting firms, IT consultancies, system integrators, healthcare specialists and other professional services providers to its Health Systems Support (HSS) Framework.

With the institution facing unprecedented demand from the challenges presented by an ageing population, while government spending on the health system remains limited, the NHS is at a cross-roads in its existence. According to its Five Year Forward View plan, the NHS acknowledges that changes are needed to adapt to this new environment, something which has buoyed demand for consulting firms in the organisation.

Technology is expected to play a key role in realising this change in particular. It can play a role in helping improve transparency and spread information more visibly among all players in health chain, including GPs, pharmacists, insurers and patients. It can also be leveraged to improve and optimise the patient journey, while helping to shift some forms of care away from over-burdened hospitals, and more toward local communities. In a nutshell, then, tech can transform healthcare to support systems for the population using data-led approaches.

The professional services firms that are helping NHS embrace technology

The Health Systems Support Framework

It has been recognised by NHS England (NHSE) that achieving this level of transformation will require the sourcing of external support. To organise this process, NHS spends hundreds of millions on external IT support, so NHSE created the four-year Health Systems Support (HSS) Framework (formerly the ACS Framework) as a “one-stop-shop”. The HSS Framework provides a quick and easy route to access support services from innovative third party suppliers at the leading edge of health and care system reform, including advanced analytics, population health management, digital and service transformation, and contracting vehicles to source expert consultancy support in IT transformation support.

Interest from the market in the HSS Framework was massive, and following a rigorous due diligence, 77 different organisations have been appointed a preferred supplier. A spokesperson of the NHS commented, “The suppliers on the framework have passed rigorous selection criteria to ensure their products are of a high quality, their prices fair and their financial position stable. The framework provides for a faster and simpler way of sourcing specific services, rather than having to undertake a more lengthy and costly OJEU procurement.”

The framework was organised across ten different lots, structured around three areas. 'Infrastructure' encompasses Electronic Patient Records and place-based digitalisation, local health and care records across different care settings, and primary care IT support and cyber security; 'Intelligence' targets population health analytics and digital tools for system modelling, actuarial assessment, planning, research, risk stratification and impactability modelling, and clinical decision support tools; finally, 'Impact and Intervention' focuses on transformation and change support, patient empowerment and activation (including self-care support, personalisation, assistive technologies and remote consultations), among other matters.

“The Health Systems Support framework provides for a faster and simpler way of sourcing expert consultancy support in IT transformation support, rather than having to undertake a more lengthy and costly OJEU procurement.”

The list of firms which made the grade includes many of UK’s leading consulting firms. This includes the Big Four of the professional services world, the MBB trifecta of the strategy consulting industry, technology giant IBM, British-origin firm The PA Consulting Group, Atos, GE Healthcare Finnamore, Accenture, the Public Consulting Group, Oliver Wyman, FTI Consulting, RSM, Moorhouse, iMPOWER, Capgemini, BDO, Teneo Business Consulting, Hitachi Consulting, and Gate One.

Among the 50 other entities are some NHS in-house consulting units, a number of IT specialists and system integrators, as well as a host of major global groups, such as by OptiMedis COBIC, a leading European provider of population health management services and integrated health and care systems. Notably, the list features a number of consortiums, and indeed, OptiMedis Cobic UK is the lead partner of once such instance, having joined forces with 18 other firms to create a winning team. Its partners are Edge Health, Kainos, PPL Consulting, National Voices, Cambio Healthcare, Beautiful Information, Cordisbright, Social Care Institute for Excellence, Innovation Unit, N A Wilson, Collaborate CIC, ASE Consulting, Baxendales, Essentia, Mutual Ventures, Edge Health Kainos, New Realities, Oak Group and OPM.

The Health Systems Support (HSS) Framework can be used by any NHS organisation, including NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), national Arm’s-Length Bodies, local authorities and a wide range of public sector bodies where they are supporting Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), or health and social care in general. Within Central Government Authorities, all contracts with a value of over £111,676 need to be procured fairly and competitively; for all other authorities this threshold is £172,514.

Firms on the framework

The full list of professional services firms appointed to the NHS England’s Health Systems Support Framework:

- NHS North of England Commissioning Support Unit (10 lots)
- NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (10 lots)
- IBM (10 lots)
- SCW (9 lots)
- PA Consulting Group (9 lots)
- KPMG (9 lots)
- Deloitte (9 lots)
- Centene (9 lots)
- Optum Health Solutions (8 lots)
- NHS Arden & Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit (AGCSU) (8 lots)
- EY (8 lots)
- Atos (8 lots)
- OptiMedis (7 lots)
- GE Healthcare Finnamore (7 lots)
- Accenture (7 lots)
- NEL CSU (6 lots)
- McKinsey & Company (6 lots)
- DXC Technology (6 lots)
- Cerner (6 lots)
- Carnall Farrar (6 lots)
- PwC (5 lots)
- Public Consulting Group (5 lots)
- Oliver Wyman (5 lots)
- System C Healthcare (4 lots)
- Philips Electronics (4 lots)
- NHS Leicestershire Health Informatics Service (LHIS) (4 lots)
- Imperial College Health Partners (4 lots)
- 2020 Delivery (4 lots)
- The Network (3 lots)
- Orion Health (3 lots)
- Kainos (3 lots)
- Imosphere (3 lots)
- FTI Consulting (3 lots)
- The Boston Consulting Group (2 lots)
- Southern AHSNs (2 lots)
- Sopra Steria (2 lots)
- RSM Consulting (2 lots)
- Patients Know Best (2 lots)
- Moorhouse Consulting (2 lots)
- Milliman (2 lots)
- Methods (2 lots)
- InterSystems (2 lots)
- iMPOWER Consulting (2 lots)
- Health Innovation Network (HIN) operating through Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (2 lots)
- Egton Medical Information Systems (2 lots)
- DrDoctor (2 lots)
- Dr Foster (2 lots)
- Capgemini (2 lots)
- BDO (2 lots)
- Attain Health Management Services (2 lots)
- AIMES Management Services (2 lots)
- 3M (2 lots)
- Virgin Care Services (1 lot)
- Unipart Logistics (1 lot)
- Trustees of Dartmouth College (1 lot)
- Teneo Business Consulting (1 lot)
- TeleTracking Technologies (1 lot)
- TechM (1 lot)
- SSG Health and KM&T (1 lot)
- Sollis (1 lot)
- Siemens Healthineers (1 lot)
- National Association of Primary Care Services (1 lot)
- Lightfoot Solutions Group (1 lot)
- IQVIA Technology Services (1 lot)
- Insight Direct (1 lot)
- Ideal Health (1 lot)
- Hitachi Consulting (1 lot)
- Health Management (1 lot)
- Health Catalyst (1 lot)
- Gate One (1 lot)
- eMBED Health (1 lot)
- Elsevier (1 lot)
- Edge Health (1 lot)
- Docobo (1 lot)
- Circle Health (1 lot)
- Allscripts Healthcare (1 lot)
- Advanced (1 lot)

 * The full list of lots in the HSS Framework:

- Lot 2A – Local health and care record strategy and implementation support
- Lot 2B - Local health and care record infrastructure
- Lot 3 - ICT infrastructure support and strategic ICT services
- Lot 4 - Informatics, analytics, digital tools to support system planning, assurance and evaluation
- Lot 5 - Informatics, analytics, digital tools to support care coordination, risk stratification and decision support
- Lot 6 - Transformation and change support
- Lot 7 - Patient empowerment and activation
- Lot 8 - Demand management and capacity planning support
- Lot 9 - System assurance support
- Lot 10 - Medicines optimisation

Related: Public prescribe more artificial intelligence to NHS.