The UK National Health Service (NHS) is the largest and the oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world. Through its Procurement Efficiency Programme the NHS has set out actions to help save £1.5 billion by the end of the financial year 2015-2016, while making procurement more transparent and fostering innovation.
In April 2014 the UK’s Under Secretary of State for Health, Dr Dan Poulter announced the new NHS eProcurement Strategy. This aims to establish the use of GS1 codes (for products, locations and data synchronisation) and PEPPOL messaging standards (for purchase order, advice note and invoice messaging) throughout the healthcare sector and its supporting supply chains. To encourage adoption the NHS will mandate the use of the GS1 and PEPPOL standards by amending the NHS Standard Contract to require compliance with this NHS eProcurement strategy.
The NHS believe that the adoption of these standards will enable interoperability between existing NHS provider and supplier systems, so there is no need for either to change their systems. Instead, they will need to implement the GS1 and PEPPOL standards to underpin the exchange of data between their systems, thereby achieving interoperability.
PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) is the culmination of a 4-year project co-funded by the European Commission and 18 government agencies. An international non-profit association OpenPEPPOL AISBL was formed in September 2012, and now has over 100 member organisations across 18 European countries, Russia and the USA.
PEPPOL delivers straight-through-processing, through a set of standard-based specifications that enable business documents to be exchanged electronically through PEPPOL Access Points. These documents are UBL messages defined by the CEN BII Workshop.
“PEPPOL is the natural choice to ensure interoperability in public procurement. This decision by the National Health Service, with its substantial buying power, is a significant milestone for OpenPEPPOL and our efforts to promote PEPPOL-based solutions. ” – states André Hoddevik, OpenPEPPOL Secretary General.