The GP Connect API is the nationally supported mechanism to access GP information. CareConnect APIs are the nationally supported mechanism to develop interoperable exchange interfaces for other use cases; GDEs and LHCREs will implement these as OPEN APIs. The intention is for vendors to align their interoperability interfaces to these specifications so that we can move away from proprietary standards to open ones. All www.INTEROPen.org vendors have signed up to this principle.
The GP Connect API will allow vendors to query GP systems for patients’ summary GP information, as defined by the API. There are different phases to the API implementation; the first includes access to the summary information where the content is uncoded, i.e. HTML only. Another phase will return structured and coded information in FHIR, including content such as medications and allergies. Under GPSoC contractual agreements, GP suppliers must support the GP Connect API, providing a mechanism for relevant third-party systems to access patients’ GP information where needed.
The FHIR profiles used in GP Connect are derived from, or ‘Children’ of, the National CareConnect FHIR profiles, and therefore consistent with them clinically and technically. ‘Child’ profiles are referred to as Level 3 CareConnect profiles or Use Case specific profiles. The National CareConnect profiles are Level 2, or ‘Parent’ profiles. Guide to Level 2 and Level 3 profiles: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k4ITq_Qdzw-jak_x4RCiGDZ57ZgRxUIG/view
These Level 2 and Level 3 CareConnect profiles have all been ‘curated’ by INTEROPen to be UK-specific localisations of the International STU3 core resources. It is accepted that there may be different versions of the CareConnect profiles (and therefore GPConnect ones) over time to accommodate changes, amendments, new requirements. Guide to curation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IbSdRTdWg-ZsbYmkkYZSGV1PVtxNmf7jkx7LneXYa0w/edit?usp=sharing
A basic set of CareConnect APIs also now exists, including a reference implementation: https://nhsconnect.github.io/CareConnectAPI/. These CareConnect APIs use the Level 2 FHIR CareConnect profiles. NHS England and NHS Digital are requiring GDEs and LHCREs to support these for their interoperability needs. INTEROPen plans to work with GDEs and LHCREs to help refine and develop these CareConnect APIs as the exchange use cases become developed.
It should be noted that, at present, the functional scope of GP Connect & CareConnect are not the same. GP Connect includes APIs for Appointment Booking and updating records, which Care Connect does not.