IT industry association techUK has published an Interoperability Charter for health and social care technology, along with a call for suppliers and other organisations to sign up in an effort to boost integration of the sectors.
It has claimed the support of NHS England and said it is based on the vision paper on interoperability that it published in March.
A spokesperson for techUK said: “It’s about trying to get the industry to sign up to making technology an enabler rather than a barrier to sharing data in a health and social care setting.”
The charter consists of five principles to which suppliers are asked to commit:
- making technical specifications of their interfaces available to other suppliers and the NHS without charge
- that when there is customer demand they will co-operate without charge in developing interfaces
- they will not reinvent the wheel and use internationally recognised standards where relevant
- they will only charge reasonable and proportionate fees to end user organisations for licensing, implementation and support services required for the interfaces
- they will not charge the NHS twice for software development when new interfaces or enhancements to existing ones are required.
It also asks the NHS and local government to reciprocate with two guarantees. One is that national interoperability standards should be based on those that are internationally recognised, and developed with industry bodies. The other is that any accreditation and compliance testing should be light touch.
The integration of health and social care has been on the agenda of government for at least a decade, but progress has been hampered partly by the traditional development of IT in separate silos for the two sectors. Laying the ground for increased interoperability would be a significant step towards integration.
Photo credit: Joseph L Ridgway II, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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