Palantir out of NHS?

Earlier this year (or somewhere in the past), I had covered the impact of Palantir accessing the crucial patient data from NHS. I am not sure how the old handwritten notes will be transcribed at scale (if at all) and run the “AI-ML engines” at scale (including the cost/data centres/storage/retrieval/managed access/disaster recovery) and ongoing costs of “maintenance”. I believe there were numerous pressure groups that sprung up, forcing its hand and generating “negative press”.

NHS breaks up £400mn data contract in response to privacy concerns | Financial Times

The UK’s NHS has broken up a £400mn showpiece data contract into several parts, but US data analytics giant Palantir remains the most prominent bidder for the health service’s operating system…

But now that the NHS has broken up the overall contract, Palantir would not be able to bid for associated but smaller projects for privacy technology or an app-store style marketplace. It is not clear whether it could still compete for a fourth contract covering training, implementation and deployment.

A “healthcare marketplace” still sounds interesting concept. What if it was walled off from the general purpose Internet (and using emulated storage or “privacy enclaves” on the devices) applications, it would still deliver a meaningful outcome for end users.

More from FT:

The federated data platform is a much larger prize. Palantir, whose founders include entrepreneur Peter Thiel and chief executive Alex Karp, has maintained that the group’s technology can deliver all aspects of the programme.

Tang sought to dismiss suggestions that splitting up the contract was intended to limit Palantir’s role. “The division is just how to safeguard the NHS,” she said this week. “There is quite an obsession with Palantir. If we can find an alternative that’s better [than Palantir], that’s what we’ll end up with.”

I am not sure if Palantir decides to have a UK subsidiary or have some collaboration with a “local UK partner”. The stakes are high, and in this time of economic recession, the British are clutching their straws. NHS is perhaps the only cash cow left, but its udders are increasingly dry. Can Palantir latch on to its teats and hope to get out something?

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