UK Department for Work and Pensions planning health data-slurping digital tool | 2/19/2019 | Staff
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The UK's Department for Work and Pensions is drawing up plans for an internal service that allows it to automate slurps of medical data on claimants to dole out health-related benefits.

In an ad posted on the UK's Digital Marketplace, DWP said the work was currently in alpha and it now wanted a supplier to deliver a technical proof of concept to expose NHS data to the department's systems.

Aim - Time - Cost - Information - Department

The aim, it said, is to cut down the time and cost involved in gathering information the department needs to make a decision about "the right support" for someone with a health condition or disability.

The ad stated the DWP had already carried out proof-of-concept research with what it described as a "medical records broker". The department declined to name this provider when asked by The Register, but the listing said Niche Health Limited – an NHS records software provider that appears to go by the name iGPR – "were engaged in the discovery phase".

Addition - Department - Ad - Citizens - Information

In addition, the department's ad claimed that citizens don't always know what information is needed, and GPs don't always have details of "functional capability" – it said a digital system would speed this up and give DWP a direct line to the right professionals.

The new service aims to both digitise the current ad-hoc system for requests – which might be how a condition affects someone on a day-to-day basis – and to automate the existing process for requests for medical information, such as GP details, hospital records and conditions diagnosed.

Information - Awards - Benefits - Universal - Credit

This information is used to decide on awards for benefits like Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, and DWP emphasised that it is shared with patient consent.

DWP said the work was being done under the "assumption" that the legal basis for data exchange would be "informed consent",...
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