Archives: <span>FAQs</span>

I’m a supplier who wants to integrate with my commissioners (the NHS) – how do I engage them to take this forward?

There are two parts to this: first of all, your primary engagement will always need to be with the NHS at a local level – these are your customers and your revenue stream. However, you may also wish to be able to advise your customers with regard to upcoming strategic moves around inter-organisational information exchange, especially with details of how your system(s) can help your customer meet the most recent contractual requirements for Transfer of Care and Open (CareConnect) APIs. I would recommend anyone in your position take an active roll in INTEROPen, where NHS England, NHS Digital, local CIO/CCIOs, other system suppliers, standards bodies etc. work together to develop and adopt open national standards for information exchange.

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Given the length of time and money it took to implement PMIP and the lack of CAD adoption, how are you going to get FHIR adopted?

The Global Digital Exemplars (GDEs), Fast Followers and Local Health and Care Record Exemplar (LHCRE) contracts stipulate the use of FHIR standards as does the NHS Standard Contract. This contractual and funded route covers approximately 60% of frontline NHS organisations.

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Will we ever get to true interoperability or will we always have middleware hell?

We can always hope. The real issue with true interoperability is that systems have been designed with a specific use in mind and have wildly differing underlying information models. This is fine until you want to share information and systems need to understand each other’s definitions. It usually falls to the middleware layer to transpose and mediate these definitions. In order to reduce this, we would need wholescale core replacements of system information models, which I can’t see happening.

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Do we need both GP Connect and CareConnect? If so, why?

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.

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How does this relate to the standards work being done by NHS Digital and the PRSB?

Both NHS Digital and PRSB are members of INTEROPen and have agreed to work collaboratively under the INTEROPen banner. The work by PRSB and NHS Digital is undertaken as members of INTEROPen under the framework of the INTEROPen end to end process towards achieving the unifying goal of all INTEROPen members.

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What about commercial demands from suppliers to use their systems through these APIs?

The use of the CareConnect standards we are working with should be covered by existing contracts that Suppliers are working within, together with their customers. Suppliers should, however, be reviewing these and if they believe they are subject to a CCN, should discuss that with their customers. Their customers may then want to discuss this with NHS England, as the current work being done is to satisfy the NHS Contract.

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As the curation of the CareConnect profiles is done by the INTEROPen community, do you think there should be a review of locally flavoured CareConnect profiles (i.e. GP Connect) that have had business rules placed on them by the INTEROPen community, to ensure the core aim of the profile is still being achieved?

GPConnect profiles and key national profiles should all be reviewed by the INTEROPen community, as it is essential for vendors who are implementing them on a national scale to influence the design and ensure there is consistency. However, because the Level 2 CareConnect profiles and CareConnect APIs have a basic set of constraints and operations to support UK interoperability, we hope that they can be taken and used by many local areas, vendors and innovative projects to develop new models of care in a way that doesn’t hold back innovation. We expect these projects will share their learning and specifications, and as they develop and scale, we envisage certain rules and patterns and other profiles emerging that may need to be plugged into a curation process so that other regions can pick them up with a degree of confidence that their design has been technically and clinically validated. Some regions may specifically come to INTEROPen for curation first, as they wish to gain further guidance. We will need to support both approaches.

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Has the recently published KLAS report been reviewed by INTEROPen? Would the INTEROPen Interoperability Survey be a duplication of this?

The KLAS report is essentially a report from a customers’ perspective on their supplier. The INTEROPen Supplier Survey is different; it is an opportunity for suppliers to go offer technical detail as to the capabilities of their products/services, focusing on progress towards the things that they need to develop and how can INTEROPen help. Results from the INTEROPen Supplier Survey will be triangulated with findings from other relevant surveys (including the KLAS report), to create a much more comprehensive and realistic representation of where suppliers are at, what needs to be done and where help is needed.

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