The Edge4Health now live!
A major new platform that will revolutionise the way the NHS buys its products and services - currently some £9bn of annual spend across the country - is being used by frontline hospital staff for the first time.
The Edge4Health, a cloud-based, consumer-style marketplace has been developed by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) and retail technology company Virtualstock to deliver cost savings and efficiencies, better data management, greater compliance and end-to-end supply chain visibility.
NHS employees at a number of trusts are now using the platformto buy thousands of goods every day - almost a million products ranging from syringes to pacemakers, laptops to orthotics. Whether direct from the supplier or through the NHS Supply Chain catalogue, requisitioners can select products via a familiar consumer-style experience.
Starting in January,The Edge4Health is being rolled out widely across the NHS, starting with the 60 NHS trusts and other organisations that currently use NHS SBS's finance and procurement services.
The technology, which has been developed and refined in partnership with NHS South of England Procurement Services (SoEPS), brings together thousands of suppliers and NHS organisations on to one easy-to-use platform, streamlining the buying process, whilst reducing errors and delays in ordering and invoice payment.
As quality data management and interoperability between ordering and inventory management systems become increasingly vital for NHS trusts, The Edge4Health enables clean data to be fed into existing systems, improving reporting and transparency of spend.
Product details are uploaded on to the system by suppliers, who can include rich data, images and more accurate and up-to-date product information, whilst attaching relevant supporting data and notifications to all NHS trusts of product stock-outs, specification changes and discontinued lines within the system.
Those managing contracts and approving prices on behalf of an NHS trust can do so in The Edge4Health. They are able to use the marketplace to search for the products and services they require from multiple suppliers, helping them achieve best value-for-money and drive efficiencies for their organisation.
NHS requisitioners only see the products and prices that have been pre-approved by trust buyers, which means compliance is built-in, spend is more visible and budgets are much easier to manage.
The interoperability between The Edge4Health and systems like Ingenica, Integra, Omnicell and Oracle, enables buyers to manage the purchase to pay process all in the same place. Suppliers and their NHS customers see the status of an order at the touch of button and will be able to communicate directly on the platform via a unique communications link, vastly reducing the number of time-consuming queries.
As the system is developed, additional functionality will be added, including the ability to rate and review products, and check a company's cyber-security - all on one platform.
The system is fully aligned to national NHS procurement programmes, such as the Future Operating Model and eProcurement Strategy, whilst also being GS1 compliant and soon-to-be PEPPOL certified.
To find out more about The Edge4Health, visit https://www.edge4health.co.uk/