It is good that the Department of Health’s Informatics Directorate and Intellect are working together but it is unclear what the joint teams talk about apart from the weather.
The two sides have drawn up an unimpressive document “ A joint plan to foster a healthy and vibrant Healthcare IT market - Intellect & DH Informatics Directorate” which to even a sympathetic eye serves only to prove that meetings have taken place.
It could have been written at any time in the history of the DH. Below are some of the statements that characterise the document; they are not what you’d call action-packed:
“The objective of the joint plan is to foster the right conditions to enable a healthy and vibrant healthcare IT market within England for the benefit of Patients and the Public, as well as the NHS and Adult Social Care staff who care for them.”
“By working together to a joint plan, DHID and Intellect will demonstrate the benefits of mature partnership working between the health and care 'customer' informatics community, and the IT 'supplier' community. We will aim to set an example of best working practice for our respective communities to adopt.”
“Our joint work will be characterised by trusting relationships, an honest, transparent, positive, collaborative approach, a commitment to delivery of safe, effective and beneficial solutions, a determined focus on delivering best value to end users, patients and the public, [and] robust but constructive debate to ensure that the right answers are generated. We will set out to ensure that all individuals involved in delivery of this plan embody the above principles in the way that they work together...”
The document says the two sides are “at the point of creating a new Information Strategy that will provide the context for all of our joint work over the next 5-10 years”. I can’t wait.
You could say it's just as well Homer didn’t work for the DH or Intellect. On the other hand the Joint Plan has the benefit of showing that healthcare IT suppliers and the DH have a forum for discussion even if they can't agree on anything beyond platitudes.