How Do We Successfully Deliver Interoperability Across the NHS and Social Care?

A Background to Discussion for Digital Health Rewired 2021

Lead Author: David Hancock, Vendor Co-Chair, INTEROPen


Purpose of Document

The NHS has been grappling with the interoperability problem for as long as healthcare providers have had more than one IT system.  The problem increases exponentially the more systems we have supporting administrative and clinical processes within a healthcare provider and further increases as these providers need to share information with each other.  Tackling interoperability becomes even more important as we move to Integrated Care Systems existing on a statutory basis, as the planned parliamentary legislation published on the 11th February 2021 wants to do.  Whilst we have had some great successes in limited, specific areas, finding solutions for the majority of interoperability challenges continues to evade us – as it has for over 30 years.

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An INTEROPen First: Medications Interoperability Hackathon in a Virtual Setting

On 14 & 15 July 2020, INTEROPen joined forces with Wessex Care Records in an online hackathon hoping to unravel one of the knottiest of problems we face – medications interoperability across care settings.

Quick Links

Building on Leeds Success

Building on the work of the Medications stream at our Fixing Broken Care Journeys #FHIRHack which took place in Leeds last October, this event was designed to progress the ambition of speeding up the move towards a consolidated medications record that can be accessed across care settings including primary and secondary care, ambulance, social care, and personal health records.

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Staff Access Hackathon: two days, 10 hacks, and a lot of learning

On Tuesday 22 September, our Staff Access Hackathon, a two-day hackathon aimed at improving understanding and use of identity verification technology, drew to a close. Supported by NHS Digital and commissioned by NHSx, this online event attracted 264 attendees (111 hack participants, 53 facilitators, 100 post-hack attendees) and culminated in a post-hack presentation session which comprised 10 solutions built within the two-day event.

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Hackathon Success Worth Building On

INTEROPen: OneLondon Hackathon
Event and Feedback Summary

In June 2019 INTEROPen presented its OneLondon Hackathon, offering members of the INTEROPen community the chance to ‘hack’ solutions to challenges facing this and other LCHRE areas and test LHCRE-toLHCRE connectivity. Below is a summary of the event and feedback received from those who took part.

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Digital Health Rewired Panel Paper: FHIR and openEHR

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We receive so many questions about FHIR and openEHR – what are they, when can you (or should you) use which or both? In preparation for our panel session at Digital Health Rewired, Ian McNicoll of openEHR Foundation, Amir Mehrkar of INTEROPen and Tony Shannon of Ripple Foundation (with a little help from friends including Grahame Grieve!) have been busy pulling together this paper on FHIR and openEHR in an attempt to answer those questions.

Setting aside personal passions, this paper is in an attempt to open minds, challenge thinking and look at ways in which the rich ecosystem of standards can be put to best use to deliver interoperability across health and social care.

This paper and all the arguments that surround it will be discussed at the INTEROPen panel session ‘INTEROPen: openEHR or FHIR’ at 16.10 in the Clinical Software stream at Digital Health Rewired on 26th March 2019.

The panel will include the following representatives from the INTEROPen Board:
Luke Readman, INTEROPen co-Chair
Amir Mehrkar, INTEROPen clinical co-chair
Ian McNicoll, openEHR Representative
David Hancock, techUK Representative
Ben McAlister, Vendor Representative
Ian Townend, NHS England
Mike Chapman of Allscripts (not on the INTEROPen Board)

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Co-Chair, Amir Mehrkar, to Take on New Challenge at NHS Digital

Amir Mehrkar, Clinical Co-Chair of the INTEROPen Board, has been invited to step into a new role as Chief Medical Officer for NHS Digital. Discussion of next steps and nominations for a new Co-Chair will take place at the next meeting of the INTEROPen Board on 28 March.

Amir has been leading the INTEROPen community alongside Co-Chair, Luke Readman, for over three years and his energy, determination and ability to raise a smile while pushing people out of our comfort zones will be dearly missed. Often to be seen donning pink socks and a t-shirt from our unforgettable INTEROP SUMMIT (or even a Robin Hood cap), Amir has lived the spirit of INTEROPen principles of openness and transparency since its inception.

We are very excited to see the developments that can be achieved as we look to a future with a new Co-Chair and greater focus on giving a voice to the vendor members of our community – with a firm ally at the helm of NHS Digital and an even greater emphasis on delivering interoperability across health and social care.

Below is the letter announcing this news from INTEROPen Co-Chairs, Luke and Amir:

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INTEROPen Publishes CareConnect Guidance

CareConnect Guidance for Developers and Provider Organisations

CareConnect FHIR profiles and Transfer of Care specifications are now ready for First of Type implementation, with the CareConnect API following soon!

The term “CareConnect” – coined by HL7 UK – has become a recognised “brand” describing UK interoperability assets. These may be vendor-led, NHS Digital-led, or curated by members of the INTEROPen community. The INTEROPen FHIR curation process exemplifies the application of our values of openness, transparency and collaboration.

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