UK-based healthcare firm Circle will give 103,000-strong Indian IT giant Tech Mahindra access to its three NHS hospitals and management contracts while Tech Mahindra will develop new IT solutions for Circle in return.
The partnership, which they claim is the largest in the European healthcare sector, will offer what they call “cutting edge technologies” to the NHS like remote diagnosis, wearables, telemedicine and data analysis.
““People are being forced to do things differently. There is a £30 billion NHS funding gap in the next five years and £22 billion of that can be addressed by efficiencies. We believe the model has to change,” Circle’s CEO Steve Melton told ComputerworldUK.
The parties promised to open up their APIs, allow their systems to share data with others and use open source software where possible.
However Circle has a mixed record in the NHS. Earlier this year the company withdrew from running Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridge, a contract it took on in 2012 in the first ever deal for a private firm to manage an NHS hospital. It had been rated inadequate by regulators, due to concerns over medical care and its accident and emergency unit.
A new Tech Mahindra subsidiary called ‘the nth Dimension’ will deliver this new project. The two parties say it will combine Circle’s clinical knowledge with Tech Mahindra’s technology expertise. Tech Mahindra was chosen “after a competitive procurement process”, according to Circle.
“If the NHS uses technology more intelligently – we have ambitious plans around wearable devices, cloud, mobile, big data – we can adopt cheaper, more effective and personalised tech that frees up more time to actually care for patients,” nth Dimension's MD Martin Wakeley said.
Wakely predicted healthcare is on the cusp of a tech-enabled revolution akin to the disruption already experienced by banks and retailers. “And we want to be part of that,” he added.
One of the partners’ first tasks will be testing new technologies and processes in Circle’s new Pebble Mill private hospital in Birmingham, due to open in early 2017, according to Melton.
The partners will also work together to develop Circle’s NHS musculoskeletal service in Bedfordshire. They promised to provide patients with a tool to book MRI scans from their smartphones and give GPs with the ability to view scans and reports from mobile devices.
“This will condense the process and make it more personal. We’ll be able to have an image sent back to a GP or consultant in 12 hours, not days like it is now,” Wakeley explained.
The partners said they will also look for work beyond the NHS within the broader government market. They cited the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice and other Whitehall departments looking to move to cloud and improve mobility as potential customers.