Over 60 tech firms have already promised to make their health IT systems as open as possible
[London, UK] NHS England has decided to sign up to a supplier initiative to promote ways to make it easier for health IT systems to work together.
The scheme in question is the recently-launched Interoperability Charter plan from the trade association representing the UK’s information technology vendor community, techUK.
The idea of the Charter is to make it easier for health and social care tech buyers to choose systems that will help them avoid so-called ‘vendor lock-in’ – where computer systems are so customised they can’t easily be changed or made to share information with other products.
The alternative – greater interoperability – is what the techUK project is trying to achieve, say the 60 companies who have signed up to it, a list that includes EMR provider Kainos and health and social care workforce mobile app creator TotalMobile. NHS England’s own digital technology team, who are now part of this Charter, would like to see even more vendors adding their names, it says.
‘The technology industry supports Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View’
NHS England will also make the Charter the centrepiece of a set of tools it’s developing in partnership with local and national organisations. The aim is to support health and care professionals to make decisions on local information sharing solutions.
Other resources to help NHS IT leaders create more open systems is a plan for a special how-to guide, an Interoperability Handbook, as well as a ‘starter online video guide, it promises.
“We support the Interoperability Charter and the need for suppliers to provide open interfaces within and across care settings,” commented Inderjit Singh, Head of Enterprise Architecture, NHS England.
“Therefore, we will be directing organisations starting to plan their blueprint for interoperability to the Charter for their supplier partners.”
Natalie Bateman, Head of Health, Social Care and Local Government at techUK added, “The technology industry welcomes the new models of integrated care set out in Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View, and we’re committed to ensuring that technology does not pose a barrier to the integration of systems and improved sharing of data.”