How to choose your service provider to connect with the NHS e-Procurement Platform
The UK's Department of Health and Social Care continues to make headway in its e-procurement strategy for the National Health Service. Technical expertise, accreditations, type approvals, and a scalable solution are factors to consider when reaching out for a tech partner to help meet NHS e-procurement platform requirements.
The strategy rolled out by the DHSC establishes the use of mandatory e-procurement for NHS organizations and their direct suppliers. The plan is to streamline the process of procuring goods and services and make it more efficient by applying EDI technology.
Companies keen to work as NHS suppliers must step up to the challenge of electronic management which ensures interoperability through the use of international standards. Having a specialized, accredited tech provider with a global reach can help deliver on DHSC requirements.
First you must know what the e-procurement strategy entails.
It involves implementing an EDI system that connects suppliers and hospitals (NHS Trust) on the basis of three central pillars:
- Use of a data pool operating on the GS1 global data-synchronization network. Exporting all information on products to supply to the NHS to a GS1 standard.
- Use of EDI between the NHS and its entire supplier base. The rollout of four EDI message types is considered throughout e-procurement strategy development: orders, invoices, order confirmations, and credit notes. The PEPPOL (Pan European Public Procurement Online) standard must be used to safeguard interoperability. Its use requires suppliers having PEPPOL-accredited Access Point services.
- Supplier coding via the GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLN) system. And data pool products via the GS1 Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN).
In order to ensure NHS connection, a tech provider must therefore offer:
- High capability and technological specialization across different EDI standards and communication protocols.
- Different official certificates to operate on networks like GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) and PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online).
The added value of a service provider also covers responding to the internal development needs of the public company or entity that endeavors to join the NHS ecosystem. To that end it must provide:
- Adaptation capability. The tech partner must harness the company’s baseline assessment to offer an EDI solution adapted to it. For an NHS provider, the big challenge is integrating its ERP internal management system with the platform developed by the NHS. To do so it must take all the information from its internal systems, transform it into the required format and validate it for sending to the public sector. This process should be done without the need for complex internal system developments.
- Engagement during the implementation process. Companies that want to become an NHS supplier must go through different phases. The experience of the EDI provider makes it possible to systematize and schedule the workload to perform the implementation with maximum security in the shortest possible time.
- Have an SLA vouchsafing the EDI provider's technological capabilities. Establish the quality level in the customer service provision, considering fundamental variables such as solution availability and maximum incident troubleshooting times. Other leading certificates in the EDI technology sector include ISAE 3402, TIER II, and ISO 27001.
- TecCertified technology. Suppliers and NHS Trusts require the help of a PEPPOL-authorized Access Point and GS1-accredited data pool.
- One-stop service. The system implementation process proposed by the NHS is lengthy, complex, and comprises different phases. The project must be approached as a unique and flexible solution that is scalable and designed to interchange data via all the networks and standards set out by the NHS. Ideally, an EDI solutions provider gets involved to work with you and guarantee answers in each phase. This will prevent against pitfalls such as ending up with a decentralized system that uses different software packages and different incident response levels.
- Scalable solution. An EDI provider with scalable solutions will let your firm grow in line with future needs and step up to new opportunities and challenges. A good technology partner should offer flexible tech solutions and infrastructures that can be scaled to other regions around the world and the capability for extension to B2B projects.
- Cloud solutions. One of the advantages your ideal EDI provider should guarantee is operating in the cloud using cloud computing technology platforms and the rollout of ASP-SaaS software to drive savings in technological and human resources. By choosing a cloud solution, you save on costly in-house installations and equipment maintenance.
- Ongoing quality support which not only ensures reliable implementation of the solution but upholds this service quality in customer support and care in the event of an incident.
Advantages of EDICOM as a partner in your e-procurement strategy
The company has developed a Public Administration Hub that guarantees connectivity not only with the NHS but also other organizations with a global reach (tax agencies, Customs, health services, etc.).
- EDICOM’s cloud-based software services can be retained by UK government agencies via the Digital Marketplace directly, saving management time.
- EDICOM has developed the EDICOMData electronic catalog authorized by GS1 as a data pool to operate on the GDSN network. It is also a certified data aggregator and can operate on TSD, the world’s first B2C network. This makes it the leading end-to-end solution on the market.
- EDICOM is accredited as an Access Point to connect to the PEPPOL e-procurement platform.
- The company is an active GS1 member in many regions around the world, including the UK.