NHS service standard - 11. Choose the right tools and technology

Choose tools and technology that let you build a good service in an efficient, cost effective way.

Build a sustainable service which allows you to change direction in future.

Why it's important

When you make a decision about technology, you're making a significant investment. The choices you make will have a huge impact on your ability to create, iterate and operate the service in a flexible, sustainable way.

What you should do

When considering technical architecture, choice of programming languages, development toolchain and other technology choices, your team should be able to show that you:

  • use appropriate tools and technologies to create and operate a good service in a cost effective way - for example, by automating things where possible
  • use HTML5 by default
  • have made good decisions about what technology to reuse or build and what to buy
  • understand tech decisions that have been made outside your team and challenge these decisions where it will improve the service
  • understand total cost of ownership of the technology and have kept the ability to make different choices in future - for example, reducing the chances of getting locked into contracts for specific tools and suppliers by using open standards
  • use standard NHS technology components where possible, for example: the NHS login to authenticate identity and the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) to manage patient demographic data
  • have an effective approach to managing any legacy technology the service integrates with or depends on

Guidance

NHS service manual

GOV.UK resources

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Updated: March 2022