Palantir and the NHS

Today, the NHS has chosen Palantir, supported by a group of companies including Accenture, PwC, NECS and Carnall Farrar, to help deliver a Federated Data Platform (FDP). AWS and Microsoft will provide cloud platform services.

The FDP will improve patient care by bringing together the information needed to plan and deliver care, and reduce the administrative burden on staff.

We are humbled that we’ve been chosen to support this critical programme. It is the culmination of 20 years developing software that integrates complex and sensitive data in a way that delivers better outcomes, while protecting privacy, ensuring security and placing the customer in full control.

We know that working with an institution as important as the NHS on an issue as sensitive as data-sharing makes it critical for us to provide trust and confidence in how our software works and how we operate as a company.

This blogpost, the first in a series, explains some of the fundamental principles on which our business and our software have been built.

Palantir is a software company: we build software platforms which enable organisations to better manage the data that they already hold.

Palantir is not, and never has been, in the business of collecting, mining or selling data. We are not a ‘data broker’ or a data aggregator. Unlike many tech companies, our business model is not based on the monetisation of personal data.

Palantir is a company that builds AI-enabled digital infrastructure for data-driven operations and decision-making. We license our software to organisations, who receive their own secure instances of our platforms in which to conduct their own work on the data they already hold.

Our software then helps those organisations bring the right data together at the right time to answer complex questions and make intelligent decisions. This is particularly valuable when existing systems are fragmented, and essential information is held in silos that can’t communicate with each other.

Palantir is a ‘data processor’ not a ‘data controller’.

With regards to customer data, we act as a data processor, not a data controller. Our customers license our software and decide how they want to use it. They retain full control and ownership of the data they hold, defining what can and cannot be done with that data. Palantir is granted no rights to that data and can only carry out activity that we are instructed to by the customer. Many of our contracts are public and set all this out clearly.

We do not and cannot reuse or transfer our customers’ data for our own purposes. Attempting to profit from customer data in this way would be illegal and would undermine the trust that is necessary to work in the sensitive environments in which we have built our business.

Palantir is a world leader in data protection and security.

For 20 years, Palantir has been consistently trusted by the most critical organisations operating in some of the most sensitive information environments in the world. That is because our security and governance capabilities are world-leading. For many of these organisations, data protection and security can be a matter of life and death.

During that 20-year period, we’ve pioneered innovations such as Purpose-based Access Controls which have further reinforced our leadership in this space. Purpose-based Access Controls ensure that individuals within an organisation are only granted access to the information that they need to do their job. They also ensure that, at any point, an auditor can understand not just who has access to what data, but also why they were given access.

Palantir strives to help critical institutions solve complex challenges.

As a business, our mission is to help critical institutions solve complex and important challenges. That is what led to our partnership with the World Food Programme, our involvement in the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees and our support for the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s investigation into war crimes. It is also what led us to first work with the NHS.

During COVID, our software helped ensure that ventilators and PPE were delivered to the right place at the right time. It then supported the vaccine rollout — widely acknowledged as the most successful in Europe, and about which the King’s Fund commented:

“Foundry has been a key tool in the NHS’s biggest ever exercise in operational data integration … It provided, in the repeated words of a number of those interviewed, ‘a single source of truth’ for what was happening within the vaccine roll-out. From where supplies were, to who had been jabbed, and where uptake was low … ‘It meant,’ as one interviewee put it, ‘that the data that could be seen by the vaccination sites, was the same version of the truth as was being seen by Skipton House [NHS England’s headquarters] by No 10 and by the Department of Health and Social Care.’”

Since the pandemic, a growing number of NHS trusts have used the same software to reduce the care backlog. At Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, where it was first deployed, it helped bring down the inpatient waiting list by 28 per cent, with operations cancelled on the day subsequently falling by half. More recently, it has increased operating theatre usage across 22 NHS trusts by an average of 6.3 per cent.

Jeffrey Ahmed, consultant gynaecologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust described the software as “a game-changer for me — it’s helping me to do my job faster and more efficiently, and has reduced my administrative burden.”

Given our mission, today’s announcement is a source of immense pride to everyone here at Palantir. We know there is no more critical institution in the UK than the NHS. And we know that there is no more important challenge than helping it deliver better care for patients.

Find out more about our work with the NHS here:


Tom McArdle and Joanna Peller, Co-Health Leads at Palantir

Palantir and the NHS was originally published in Palantir Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.