Rationale

Why are we doing this? What do we want?

Technology is changing the world and our expectations. Corporate IT systems are lagging behind, partly due to slow and cumbersome procurement processes, and the NHS cannot afford to be stuck in this position.

The medium used to deliver and support healthcare really matters. We all agree that this medium should be digital, but we have to do it right.

We want healthcare professionals to see what is possible in the tech sector and to learn from and be inspired by great developers; we need them to stop accepting what they're given regarding NHS IT, and to demand more from their working environment.

We want career developers to be excited by the unique challenges presented by a digital NHS; we need them to use their skills and expertise to help push forward with a new era for NHS IT.

We want policy makers to see what we can do so quickly with so little, and to harness the incredible creativity and goodwill already present; we need real commitment to support the creation of user-centered, helpful, and robust solutions to help healthcare professionals do their jobs aided by IT systems rather than in spite of them.

We want patients to drive and inform every step of this; after all, a passion to improve patient care is why we're doing this, isn't it?

Openness and a Digital NHS

Taking a simple view, being open -- open governance and open source -- allows effective collaboration and gives a competitive advantage in terms of the potential for lower costs and higher quality. Openness is now standard in the technology industry, and in some parts of government, for example the Cabinet Office. Openness within technology stands alongside the openness found in academic culture, with no room for "black boxes".

Cory Doctorow explains it all in this short video, which is well worth watching: http://bit.ly/KOx4R8

Also take a look at the Government Digital Services Presentation (pdf)

Meeting the challenge

How can we build an environment where world-class NHS digital services flourish?

Through leadership that understands technology and is bold enough to modernise the delivery of digital services, including embracing openness.