Chiltern CCG and Aylesbury Vale CCG are working with one of the UK’s largest commissioning support units to pioneer the use of a new simple and easy-to-use tool that delivers a seamless, end-to-end process for the delivery of personal health budgets.
The clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are using PHBChoices, the new online marketplace that connects health and care suppliers with Personal Health Budget (PHB) holders. PHBChoices has been developed and delivered by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) using the cloudBuy eCommerce platform.
Chiltern CCG and Aylesbury Vale CCG are pioneering the use of PHBChoices, supported by Arden & GEM CSU (Commissioning Support Unit). Arden & GEM is one of the largest CSUs in the country and works with more than 60 CCGs, who will be able to use PHBChoices for the benefit of commissioners, suppliers and patients.
“Put at its simplest, this is an online marketplace with the look and feel of major online retailers,” said Benjamyn Damazer, head of commissioning at NHS SBS.
“It is set up for the CCG to enable budget provision and patient management with an ease and simplicity of use for the patient. Control of what is bought and how it is used is with the patient. But the CCG can retain cash until the patient ‘spends’ their budget by buying goods or services.”
Building on the self-managed PHB provision, a personal virtual budget is made available to the PHB holder through an online account created by their CCG. The PHB holder can then buy goods and services from the marketplace featuring national, regional and local suppliers, selected to meet the needs of their care plan.
PHBChoices features real-time budget and expenditure tracking, secure online payment and invoicing. Benefits for CCGs are numerous including visibility of spend, and invoicing and receipting integrated with their existing Oracle finance system.
Alongside the growing number of CCGs signing up to PHBChoices, are health and care suppliers that recognise the potential the marketplace has to grow their business. PHBChoices is the simple way for suppliers to access the expanding PHB market as the NHS increasingly moves funds into the hands of PHB holders so they can create personalised care solutions. PHBChoices enables PHB holders to manage their budgets online and make purchases any time, any place – via laptop, tablet or phone.
The PHBChoices marketplace is free to join for suppliers, with competitive transaction charges. The marketplace also speeds up payments to suppliers. For goods, a BACS payment is made to suppliers the day after the order is accepted. For services, invoices are paid promptly at month end. These faster payments are designed to help improve cash flow for suppliers.
Andrew Stevenson, Sales Director at care sector supplier NRS Healthcare, said: “At NRS Healthcare we were pleased to join the PHBChoices marketplace early. PHBChoices is being adopted by an increasing number of CCGs as the means by which their PHB holders will manage their budgets and make purchases, so NRS Healthcare recognised the opportunity. We wanted to be sure that our products were ready for purchase on PHBChoices, as the buyers come on board.”
“PHBChoices gives a new channel to market for NRS Healthcare which is extremely cost effective. Our sales and support processes can be simplified which provides opportunities for savings. There are no subscription fees and the percentage charge per transaction is simple to understand and low compared to other online marketplaces, which do not benefit from being connected to the PHB process and the growing community of individual buyers.”
Lyn Duncan, cloudBuy CEO said, “The trend is for NHS England to give more choice and buying power to individuals. Because of this move, any supplier of care products and services should seriously consider joining PHBChoices as soon as possible. We are pleased that the momentum is building around PHBChoices with more CCGs and suppliers coming on board.”