NHS.UK online overhaul continues as beta phase begins
It is understood that beta version of revamped site could go live next year in attempt to streamline and standardise design and services
The Department of Health (DH) is understood to have completed the alpha phase of development for a revamped NHS.UK domain that will provide and support information delivery and digital services to create a more streamlined approach to online care delivery.
Work on the NHS.UK Alpha project commenced last year as part of work between NHS England and the government looking at prototypes for online service provision potentially through taking what was described at the time as a 'health-as-a-platform' approach looking at common tools and standards.
NHS.UK Alpha has now passed the required Government Digital Service (GDS) assessment.
A beta version of the website, intended to offer patients joined up online healthcare services such as access to applications and other third party digital functions, is now scheduled to launch next year.
Sources with knowledge of the work suggest that an endorsement model for apps is also in the process of being developed. It is hoped that this work will allow the NHS.UK site to promote safe and quality apps that have passed standards outlined by the National Information Board (NIB) to patients.
Running in line with the Government Service Design Manual, efforts to set out a budget for the revamp work is being agreed as part of wider planning relating to the Spending Review released earlier this year and the NIB.
The NHS.UK alpha phase included a 12 week research period that concluded late last year looking at how best to try and address the requirements of the NHS Five Year Forward View plan looking at demand and funding efficiency.
Findings from the review highlighted opportunities for reducing pressure on care services by better connecting patients to the help they require, as well as improving digital take up of booking and prescription services.
A lack of consistent standards and practical support mechanisms for over 3000 websites on the NHS.UK domain was also noted.