Public Services > Healthcare

NHS Digital issues tender for data de-identification project

David Bicknell Published 19 January 2018

Five year contract, value yet to be disclosed, is due to start in April


Last month NHS Digital set out to progress the procurement of a new system as part of a major project to de-identify data flowing in and out of the organisation.

The organisation published a prior information notice (PIN) saying it was in the process of procuring a new technical solution “to enable consistent de-identification of data for secondary uses.”

Now it has published a tender for the project with a five year contract, though the value of the contract has not been disclosed.The contract has an anticipated start date of April 13 this year, with anend date of April 18 2023, and a closing date for applications of February 19. 

The De-identification Project, on which NHS Digital is working with NHS England, plans to implement a strategic approach to de-identifying data flowing into or out of NHS Digital, or requiring linkage with NHS Digital data. It wants  to provide the capability to re-identify data where authorised, througha solution that will be implemented centrally and regionally.

According to the Prior Information Notice in December, the solution will replace “a varied landscape of existing de-id tools across the NHS.”

The De-Identification project has a series of high level drivers, including reducing the risk of unauthorised access to identifiable data; minimising the risks of re-identification; protect patient privacy and comply with legislation, through the consistent application of a standardised de-identification and re-identification capability; enabling the linkage of data, without the need to flow identifiers; and providing de-identified data with high analytic utility. 

The De-Identification project is regarded by NHS Digital as an essential part of its Data Services Platform (DSP) programme which is intended to deliver improvement and innovation in the way NHS Digital collects, processes and shares information, and will be a “consistent de-identification capability that will be deployed across the NHS.” 

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