NHS to integrate Palantir work into patient data platform • The Register

NHS England documents show the services provided by Palantir – which began amid the COVID-19 emergency – will become part of the controversial £360million ($429million) Federated Data Platform, a move criticized by critics claim that it gives the US spy tech business an unfair competitive advantage.

Palantir has made the project a “must-win” deal as it aims to implement its “land and expand” strategy in the world’s largest healthcare organization. The UK’s NHS has patient health data that is worth an estimated £9.6 billion ($11.4 billion) a year to pharmaceutical and health tech companies.

NHS England, a non-departmental body of the UK government, will begin delayed procurement in the coming weeks, according to documents made available to potential bidders.

Some bidders fear Palantir has an unfair advantage, having initially bid at a nominal £1 to create a data platform in 2020, which was then seen as necessary to help the NHS deal with the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic to understand. It later landed a £23million ($27.4million) deal – with no competition – to expand its work. In March last year, the UK government gave in under threat of a court review of the deal. Among the three key concessions, the government said it would not offer a long-term NHS role to companies like Palantir without consulting the public.

Earlier this month, NHS Digital board papers revealed the UK government will expand its use of the platform, extracting patient-identifiable data from NHS hospital systems and sharing it with the data platform, powered by Palantir’s technology, to help drive savings achieve waiting times in the hospital. This has led to warnings from privacy activists about further legal action.

According to documents seen by The registryNHS England has now confirmed that this data extraction will need to feed into the £360million (about US$429million) Federated Data Platform (FDP).

A prospective bidder asked NHS England to confirm whether Palantir was instructed to collect patient-level data from hospitals on a daily basis and whether this would impact the scope or timing of the FDP’s procurement. “We recognize that since the supplier briefings earlier this year, a number of organizations have invested in bid preparation and an update on the current position would be welcome in this regard,” they said.

NHS England replied: “The data collection referred to is part of the service delivery under NHS England’s existing contract with Palantir to provide a data platform, which is a software platform (Foundry) for the secure, reliable and timely processing of data from decision makers enable the NHS to better plan the use of resources and improve patient care.These services fall within the scope of the requirements for the Federated Data Platform and, as part of their implementation, would be moved to the FDP in place of the existing platform.” [Emphasis ours.]

The registry has contacted NHS England to give them an opportunity to respond. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/11/21/nhs_palantir_federated_data_platform/ NHS to integrate Palantir work into patient data platform • The Register

Rick Schindler

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